Annex 2

Transcription

Annex 2
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
02 July 2013 17:28
Fiona Fox
FW: FUTURE OF THE SCIENCE MUSEUM GROUP
Importance:
High
HI Folks,
Roger has given me permission to forward this good news from the Science Museum Group to you. But please don't
send to media or tweet or anything of that nature.
However I'm sure you are as thrilled as I am that the news about the Science Museum Group is better than we
feared and none of the museums will have to close - even if they do have many challenges ahead!
Cheers
Fiona
From:"~Highfield:Roger rmailto:Roger.HjQhfieldtSScienceMuseum.aciukl
Sent: 02 July 2013 17:19
To: fiona ©sciencemediacentre. org:
Subject: FW: FUTURE OF T>HE SQENCE MUSEUM GROUP
I m p o r t a n c e : High
j
Dear All,
Because we have not yet received written details of our SR settlement, we can't formally comment on it to the press
, (a tad surreal, given the select committee today). However, FYI, here's what we have just told our staff, which gives
you the bigger picture. Best, Roger
PS We have been incredibly fortunate to get so much support from the wider scientific community and for that we
are really grateful!
From: ^ B B l ^ O n Behalf Of Global Email (Do Not Reply)
Sent: 02 July 2013 16:49
To: Btatchford^^an
Subject: FIJTURE OFTHE SQENCE MUSEUM GROUP
I m p o r t a n c e : High
G L O B A L MESSAGE - PLEASE PASS TO THOSE WITHOUT ACCESS TO EMAIL
Future of the Science Museum Group
This week we received details of our DCMS Spending Review settlement, both capital and revenue funding
streams. Although the finer details have yet to be confirmed fonnally in writing, the outlines of the
settlement provided the Trustees and senior management team with significant reassurance about our
government funding position for 2015/16.
You may also have heard the Culture Minister make a clear public commitment that none of our museums
will close and also his comment at the Select Committee this morning about the letter he has written to the
Minister for Science and Universities, to start an important discussion about how the Department of
Business, Innovation & Skills might provide funding for the Group,
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Both the Minister and I also mentioned this morning that the major national museums are likely to receive
some new financial freedoms (such as the power to borrow) which should help us increase our commercial
income overtime.
Because of these recent developments, and a full discussion at the Board of Trustees last week, I am able
to confirm that all our museums will remain open.
The reductions of five per cent in both funding streams are significantly less than the planning scenarios we
had to submit to DCMS and Treasury as part of the Spending Review. These considered cuts that ranged
upto 15 percent.
However, the Group does face a significant funding shortfall from 2014-15 and beyond as a result of the
continuing reduction in Grant in Aid. We have already started to develop plans to close the deficit.
It has been a very stressful time for all of us, but I hope you can see that the Board and senior team have
been working hard to protect and promote all our museums. As I said this morning, it has been a period of
both anxiety and opportunity.
We must be the most high profile museum group in Britain right now and, when it comes to getting this
message across, the support from so many quarters has been amazing.
Both the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering submitted written evidence to the Select
Committee praising our programming, public engagement and learning. The Royal Society described us as
'a vital part of the science eco-system'.
I am sure we have all been heartened by how key stakeholders (Ministers, MPs, local councils, celebrities
and our audiences) have pledged to work closely with us to safeguard the future of our museums by
helping us find new sources of funding. Tough times teach you who your true friends and allies are.
The next step will be to put together action plans, with a particular focus on refocusing the effort at the
National Media Museum to ensure that it meets the science and technology agenda ofthe group and the
needs ofthe local community.
I also want to make a special mention of Ciara Wells, for co-coordinating our written evidence to the Select
Committee and for answering the hundreds of data questions I have tormented her with over recent weeks.
The Group is also very fortunate in having a first rate Comms teams at each museum, who have worthed
very long hours and with great skill.
It is a privilege to lead such an extraordinary group of museums and have stewardship of our worid class
collections. Above all, I have exceptional colleagues (that means you) and we all share the same passion
about what we do. The next few years will hardly be easy, but we need to keep aiming high.
I would also like to reassure you that the Group's executive team will not let up in our efforts to ensure that
all our museums thrive despite the difficult economic circumstances.
Here's to a more secure future for every museum in the Group.
4an-Blatchford''
Director & Chief Executive
Science Museum Group
Notes
You can watch a recording from this morning's inquiry here:
http://www.pariiamentlive.tv/Main/Plaver.aspx?meetinald=13486
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You can read our evidence
here: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/about us/smq/corporate/select committee inguiry.aspx
By Friday there should be a full transcript ofthe Select Committee meeting, this can be found here:
http://www.pariiament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/culture-media-and-sportcommittee/inguiries/pariiament-2010/future-of-the-science-museum-aroup/
Once again, if you are approached by a joumalist regarding the potential impact on any of our museums in
the Group, please refer them to the appropriate press office:
Science Museum - 020 7942 4328
National Railway Museum - 01904 686 281
MOSI-0161 606 0176
National Media Museum - 01274 203 339
Please remember that ifyou use social media, anything that you say is in the public domain and could end
up being quoted in an article.
This e-mail and attachments are intended for the named addressee only and are confidential. Ifyou have
received this e-mail in error please notify the sender immediately, delete the message from your computer
system and destroy any copies. Any views expressed in this message are those ofthe individual sender and
may not reflect the views ofthe Science Museum Group. This email has been scanned for all vinises by the
MessageLabs Email Security System.
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K s y m e n a O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To;
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
01 July 2013 11:03
Fiona Fox
Paul Nurse's observer piece yesterday
httD://viAA/w.euardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/iun/30/sclence-hard-evidence-rhetoric
Enough rhetoric. It's evidence that should shape key pubhc
decisions
Issues s u c h a s G M food and fracking are too important t o d e b a t e without full k n o w l e d g e of the
scientific facts
o Paul Nurse
o The Observer. Sundav 30 June 2013
o Jump to comments ^355)
As government becomes more open and transparent, we are ail increasingly asked
to help shape policy decisions. Issues ranging fromfrackinq to three-parent
babies and qeneticaily modified crops are all difficult, so how should we negotiate a
tangle of often conflicting and technical complexities to produce the best policy
decisions?
Many of the issues have a scientific element and a social science element. They
involve politics, religious preferences, economic considerations and ethical
concerns. We need debate and it must be based as much on listening as talking:
the differing views of individuals have to be heard and their concerns addressed.
Questions should not go unanswered, or if they cannot be answered that needs to
be acknowledged. What is key is reliable evidence, and if the evidence does not
exist it has to be researched.
It should be remembered that there is rarely a right or wrong answer on these sorts
of issues, although some people of faith who deal more in moral absolutes might
disagree with me. There are always people who have 100% conviction in their views
but, as a general rule, when society is looking forthe best outcome it should take
such absolutist views with a pinch of salt. If you start out with certainties you are
unlikely to have considered all the evidence or maybe any of the evidence.
So evidence is where we should start. Sadly, scientific evidence was not much to
the fore 10 years ago when we debated genetically modified crops in the UK.
Scientists tended to hang back while big corporations battled it out with anticapitalists and environmentalists. Opinions were thrown around as if they were
facts. The debate became toxic, with peopie often forming their decisions based on
who shouted the loudest. There were echoes of that recently when GM hit the
headlines and some people yet again rolled out the trite "Frankenstein foods"
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nonsense. Ifwe want to make the best decisions, those opinions should only bear
weight if they are evidence-based.
We need to base our debate on high-quality scientific advice, which is dependent
upon high-quality science. Good science is a reliable way of generating knowledge
because of the way that it is done. It is based on reproducible observation and
experiment, taking account of all evidence and not cherry-picking data. Scientific
issues are settled by the overall strength of that evidence combined with rational,
consistent and objective argument. Central to science is the ability to prove that
something is nof true, an attribute which distinguishes science from beliefs based on
religions and ideologies, which place more emphasis on faith, tradition and opinion.
A good scientist is inherently sceptical - the Roval Society's motto, in Latin of
course, roughly translates as "take nobody's word for it". We have to make sure that
those making policy decisions begin by having timely access to all the relevant
scientific evidence in as easy to understand a format as possible. That puts a
responsibility on scientists to engage effectively and straightforwardly with society.
So where would that leave us on fracking for example - what can the science tell
us? Thanks to the British Geological Survey we have a reasonably good idea
about how much shale qas there is and we have to assess how much of It we can
get out ofthe ground. Crucially, we need to assess the health, safety, and local and
global environmental risks, some of which was done by the Royal Society and Royal
Academy of Engineering last year.
These analyses and assessments are essential but are oniy the start ofthe debate.
We need to discuss energy security and affordabtlity - people want to know if
household fuel bills can be brought down. Those living in areas where there might
be fracking have a major stake in the decision. They are the ones who will have a
big industry moving into their neighbourhoods, and they need to weigh up the
disruption and potential risks against the potential economic benefits for themselves
locally and for the UK as a whole. These are questions that are not easily answered,
but what is key is to get the science right first before moving on to the politics.
We must, of course, also recognise the limitations on the scientific evidence.
Science is not etched in stone, it evolves. Early on in a scientific study knowledge is
often tentative, and only after repeated, rigorous testing does it become increasingly
secure. It is this process that makes science reliable, but it can take time. This can
lead to problems when scientists are called upon to give advice on issues when the
science is not yet complete. Sometimes scientists or the media can oversimplify or
even overstate the case but where that happens it devalues scientific evidence. The
public wants clear and simple answers but sometimes that is not possible, and
when it is not possible scientists have to say so.
To make the best policy decisions we need to start with all the evidence that we can
gather. It must be presented openly and honestly, particularly recognising any
uncertainties. Once that is established we can introduce the economic, political,
religious and other factors that influence people's decision-making. Ideally the public
debate, and here the media have a major responsibility, would then be carried out in
a rational way seeking the best outcome.
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The government's decision to give the go-ahead to doctors to produce IVF babies
who have a tiny bit of mitochondrial DNA from a third "parent" to prevent some
major childhood diseases is a good example of how to manage a policy issue
Involving science. The science was assessed and then the ethical concerns
weighed up against the potential benefits.
Here in the UK we are quite enlightened and, as a result, we are actually pretty
good at making sensible policy decisions involving science. Another example is
climate change. Although lobbyists try to influence the agenda and sometimes have
success in influencing public opinion, successive governments have listened to the
consensus view of expert climate scientists and taken action.
We must not be complacent, but in the UK, scientific advice for public policy is
handled better than in many other countries. It is usually the basis upon which
politicians, economists, ethicists and others develop their views - first the facts, then
the opinions.
We seem to have an inbuilt capacity for rationality and a distrust of dogma - it is
probably what keeps us as a world leader in science. Ifwe can keep that alive we
will do well and more often than not make good policy.
157
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona©sciencemediacentre.org>
27 June 2013 14:33
Fiona Fox
Exctiing annoucement today from DH
Science Media Centre Round-up VERSION 3
EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 on Fridav aS**' June
Expert reaction to DH announcement of mitochondrial DNA transfer
Dr Catherine Elliott, Director of Clinical Research Interests, Medical Research Council, said:
"From very early on we believed it important to fund both the excellent science in this area, and the ethical
framework in which it could develop. UK scientists are now at the exciting point of being able to turn these
techniques into a means of preventing these appalling diseases. After the carefully considered public dialogue on
the issue, we're extremely pleased that the government has moved that goal an important step closer."
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Head of Developmental Genetics, MRC f^ational Institute for Medical Research,
said:
"This is excellent news for women at risk of having children with severe mitochondrial disease due to mutations in
mitochondrial DNA. There is nothing in the science conducted to date to suggest that the new techniques (maternal
spindle transfer, MST, or pronuclear transfer, PNT) are unsafe, indeed when considered in the context of what
happens to children born with these diseases, it is difficult to imagine that the new techniques will be anything but a
better option to allow these women to have their own genetic offspring. Moreover, there is no reason why the
regulations should not be accepted in parallel to, or even in advance of, the remaining experiments that are
required to give additional confidence in the methods. It will of course bea brave decision forthe first families, and
forthe HFEA as the regulator, to decide to go ahead once the regulations are approved by Pariiament, but more
often than not, progress requires some element of bravery."
Sarah Norcross, Director ofthe Progress Educational Trust, said:
"UK Scientists are leading the way worth their research to avoid inherited mitochondrial diseases and the UK
Government is emulating them. The Government looks set to become the first in the world to lay down regulations
allowing techniques involving genetic material from three people to be used to avoid the transmission of
mitochondrial diseases in clinical trials and in practice. The combination of the regulatory framework already in
place for IVF and the public support for the techniques to be allowed means that the Government can act
confidently and quickly and not impede scientific progress from delivering its promised benefit."
Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, said:
"It is extremely positive news that the Government has responded to public support for this IVF technique and has
decided to draft new regulations, bringing it one step closer to clinical trial. It is encouraging that this follows open
and frank dialogue with the public - we respect that the development of this technique is a sensitive issue eliciting
strong views on both sides.
"We may now be on the path to offering women living with extremely cruel, unpredictable and devastating
conditions the invaluable choice of bearing their own, unaffected children. There is still work to be done in
developing the technique, but both the commitment and funding are available to take it forward.
"We now urge the Government to move with haste and to draft regulations to share with the public."
Sharmila Nebhrajani, Chief Executive, the Association of Medical Research Charities, said:
"Mitochondrial diseases are some ofthe most debilitating inherited conditions, affecting children and adults, for
which there are few therapies and no cures. Acknowledging the need for treatments to be proven safe and
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effective, and for the public to feel comfortable with the implications of new scientific techniques such as
mitochondrial transfer is important; but that proper caution must not prevent us from taking bold steps in the
adoption of such potentially life-saving advances in the clinic"
Sir John Tooke, President, Academy of Medical Sciences, said:
"The Academy is delighted that the Department of Health is taking steps to ensure that techniques which could
reduce the number of children born with rare mitochondrial diseases can move closer to being used in the clinic.
"Introducing regulations now will ensure that there is no avoidable delay in these treatments reaching affected
families once there is sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy.
"It is also a positive step towards ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of cutting edge research in this area."
Professor Doug Turnbull, Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research, Newcastle
University, said:
"\ am delighted that the Government is moving forward with publishing draft regulations this year and a final
version for debate in Pariiament next year. This is excellent news for families with mitochondrial disease. This will
give women how carry these diseased genes more reproductive choice and the opportunity to have children free of
mitochondrial disease. I am very grateful to all those who have supported this work."
Mary Herbert, Professor of Reproductive Biology, Newcastle University, said:
"Today's announcement is really encouraging news for families affected by mitochondrial DNA disease. The IVFbased techniques currently under development offer the possibility of greatly reducing the risk to children of
affected women. We are in the fortunate position of having substantial Wellcome Trust funding to continue to
refine the techniques and to optimise their safety and efficacy.
"We have made good progress in optimising the pronuclear transfer technique and will continue to need a supply of
healthy eggs to perform further tests on the safety ofthe technique.
Obviously, the timescale will depend on the outcome of those tests."
Alison Murdoch, Professor of Reproductive Medicine, Newcastle University, said:
"This is great news for UK science and gives hope to women who just want a healthy baby. The UK government has
made a moral decision.
"The death of a baby is a parent's worst nightmare. Our research is leading to a pioneering IVF technology to reduce
that risk for mothers who have abnormal mitochondria. There is still more research to do, but this decision means
that we could eventually be allowed to offer it as a treatment."
Allstair Kent, Director, GeneticAlliance UK, said:
"We are pleased that the Government has listened to the overwhelming positive message from the recent public
consultation. Couples at risk of having a child with a mitochondrial disease caused by mitochondrial DNA will be
delighted that they are one step closer to being able to access this therapy.
"Mitochondrial replacement has the potential to offer a life-changing option to couples who wish to avoid the birth
of a child affected by a mitochondrial disease. The proactive introduction of regulations now/ means that when the
science is ready, the regulators will be ready, allowing couples to access the treatments they have been waiting for
with no further delays.
"With all of the discussion about the ground-breaking science that has brought mitochondrial replacement within
reach, it is easy to forget the impact that mitochondrial disease can have on children and their families. Many of
these conditions are so severe that they are lethal in infancy, creating a lasting impact upon the child's family. An
added option for families at risk of having a child with such a condition is welcome."
Dr Ted Bianco, Acting Director of the Wellcome Trust, said:
159
"As a funder and advocate of this cutting edge research, we are extremely pleased to see the Department of Health
keeping regulation apace with research developments. This will ensure families affected by mitochondrial diseases
are able to access these technologies in the clinic at the eariiest opportunity if they are shown to be safe, giving
them hope of having children free from these devastating disorders."
H^re is a link to all the work we have done on this topic over a number of years:
http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/mitochondrial-dna-2/
Note to editors
^
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find at} expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can calf us on 020 76118300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacen tre.ora. please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at smc(5}sciencemediacen tre.ora
Scjence Media Centre is a registered charity (no, 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
160
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona©sciencemediacentre.org>
27 June 2013 12:37
Fiona Fox
FW: Nature (Brian Heap): Europe should rethink its stance on GM crops
http://www.nature.com/news/europe-shQuld-rethink-its-stance-on-gm-crops-1.13265?V\/T.ec
20130627
id=NATURE-
Europe should rethink its stance on GM crops
Second-generation crop genetic-modification techniques avoid some ofthe issues that previously
provoked hostility, argues Brian Heap.
26 June 2013
Countries in the European Union (EU) are losing ground in the intemational race to grow more food on
increasingly scarce land. This has serious and urgent implications for the EU science base and the
environment, as well as for domestic food security, employment and economic growth. It is down to the
slow and expensive way that the continent regulates genetically modified (GM) organisms.
Historical attitudes and actions ofthe EU have constrained the use of GM crops — both at home and in
developing coimtries. The region must now base its regulations in this area on sound science, as it has
promised to do. An early test of this commitment will be the EU's approach to the next generation of crop
genetic-improvement technologies. These techniques allow scientists to generate plant varieties with desired
traits more precisely, rapidly and efficiently than with conventional breeding,
A key feature of many of these techniques, which include some that induce epigenetic modifications (that is,
modifications that do not cause changes to the DNA sequence itself), is that they leave the resultant crop
free of genes foreign to the species. Indeed, the changes induced by modem genetic modification often
cannot be distinguished from those produced by conventional breeding or natural genetic variation. This
raises issues for regulators. Put simply, are these plants GM crops?
The difference is more than semantic. A GM classification raises regulatory hurdles and associated costs,
which could put the commercial use of these techniques beyond the reach of smaller companies and publicsector researchers. The techniques have the potential to improve crop resistance to disease and to increase
yields and nutritional content, but classification as GM would restrict their application to high-value crops,
as happened with the first wave of GM crops. It would be perverse if the costs of regulation yet again lock
up the promise of agricultural innovation within a few large companies.
""Hie objective niustbeito regulate tlie.pro^
As a report published this week by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) in Halle,
Germany, of which I am president, points out, expert groups have already concluded that many of these new
breeding techniques do not constitute 'genetic modification' in the way that the term is usually used. As
such, the plants that they produce should not be regulated as GM organisms. Work on these techniques is
well advanced, in particular in the United States and Europe. The EU has not yet decided how to classify —
and so regulate — plants produced by them, and this is hampering progress there.
161
The world faces major problems in food security alongside pressures from population growth, climate
change and economic and social instability. The biosciences can play a big part in the sustainable
intensification of agriculture, improving efficiency in production and avoiding further loss of biodiversity.
As observed in the recent Nature special issue on genetic modification (nature.com/cmcroDs), the world is
changing and many developing countries are now actively engaged in research on advanced technologies in
pursuit of their own priorities.
Researchers and plant breeders across Europe urgently need to know the legal status of these novel breeding
techniques. Recent safety assessments by expert advisory groups of the European Food Safefy Authority in
Parma, Italy, have already judged that hazards are similar for conventionally bred plants and those produced
by cisgenesis (in which only genes from the same species or a nonnally interbreedmg relative are
introduced), and that targeted mutagenesis (in which only specific nucleotides in a gene are changed) is also
likely to minimize unintended effects associated with the disruption of genes or regulatory elements in the
modified genome.
Confirmation by the EU that targeted techniques that leave no foreign DNA behind do not fall under the
scope of GM legislation would give considerable support to agricultural innovation in Europe. Without this
support, there is the risk that scientists and companies in this field wdll move elsewhere, accelerating the
negative impact on the science base and on Europe's competitiveness.
The implications go further. An EU regulatory position not based on sound science could create damaging
knock-on effects for developing countries, who may depend on the EU for export markets or look to it for
leadership in managing bioscience innovation. There is an ever-greater requirement for consistent,
harmonized, evidence-based policy worldwide to enable synchronous technology development and trade.
At the same time as addressing the proportionate management of these new techniques, the EU must
recalibrate its broader approach to GM crop regulation. It must make it transparent, predictable and fit for
purpose by taking account ofthe extensive evidence of safe use of these crops around the world.
In common with other irmovation sectors, the objective must be to regulate the product and not the
technology that produces it. By making better use of all crop-improvement techniques and so reducing
dependence on food and animal-feed imports, the EU can help improve land use elsewhere, and allow more
ofthe agriculture in developing countries to be used for local needs.
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K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
26 June 2013 17:11
Fiona Fox
Fwd: SMC Ver 6: Rapid Reaction: George Osborne's Spending Review (FOR
IMMEDIATE RELEASE)
FYI
Sent from my iPad
Begin forwarded message:
From: Edward Sykes <edwardfa)sciencemediacentre.orR>
Date: 26 June 2013 16:36:13 BST
To:edward^sciencemediacentre.org
Subject: SMC Ver 6: Rapid Reaction: George Osborne's Spending Review (FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE)
Reply-To: [email protected]
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction
IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY 2 6 ^ JUNE 2013
Ver 6: Expert reaction to George Osborne's Spending Review
*NEW COMMENT* Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive o f t h e Association o f t h e British
Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said:
"I am pleased the Government has chosen to sustain its investment in the science budget and
reverse cuts to science infrastructure. The UK is a world leader in science, attracting the brightest
and best researchers and continued funding will allow us to maintain first rate research facilities and
train the scientists of tomorrow. Looking to the future, it is important the Government continues to
support the Life Sciences industry to spur economic growth in the UK."
*NEW COMMENT*
Dr Sarah M a i n , Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering,
said:
"The signs had been good - the Chancellor had said that science was a 'personal priority' and that
he was 'up for the challenge of making the UK the best place in the worid to do science'. But
instead the research community is left exposed to competition from the global scientific premier
league of nations."
The science budget
"Today was an important opportunity forthe Chancellor to demonstrate his intent to put science
and engineering at the heart of economic growth. His commitments are welcome in the context of
the scale of cuts applied across all government departments. However, in the context of the scale of
commitment to science and engineering for economic recovery by our global partners, the UK is
now lagging further and further behind.
"The UK is historically a 'premier league' nation. But its position has been sliding. Compared to the
OECD group of developed nations, Britain's science spend is only 7^^ in absolute terms, falling to 25**^
in percentage terms. With today's 'flat cash' commitment to the science budget, inflation is set to
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erode the science budget by a cumulative sum of £276m from now until 2015/16 (6%). Flat cash is
far from flat.
"An example ofthe unprecedented commitment of other nations to science and engineering for
economic grovrth comes from South Korea, whose President said in her inaugural speech in
February this year, "At the very heart of a creative economy lie science, technology and the IT
industry, areas that I have earmarked as key priorities. I will raise the quality of our science and
technology to world-class levels." (President Park, Republic of Korea, Presidential Inauguration
Speech. February 2013)
"President Park plans to increase the total expenditure on research and development to 5% of GDP
bv 2017. UP from 4% in 2011. The government's investment in basic science will rise from 35.2% of
that total to 40% by 2017. She also aims to set up a new overarching 'ministry of future innovative
science'.
"It is vitally important that the UK sets an upward trajectory for investment in science and
engineering that will ensure we regain our place in the premier league of scientific nations.
Capita)
"We await tomorrov/s announcement from the Treasury to learn further details on capital support
for science and research.
"CaSE is pleased that the government have listened to the scientific community and responded with
a long-term framework for investment in capital. Research-active companies and charities have
clearly stated that a long-term public investment framework is needed for them to maintain their
vital investment in the UK research base.
"While the increase in capital spending is welcome, we urge the government to act upon the
recommendations of the House of Lords inquiry into infrastructure which will soon be published in
order to maximize this investment, A long-term framework which gives funders foresight of the
amounts and timings of capital investment would make most efficient use of that money. The
recent trend of allocating capital in media-friendly 'announce-ables' has resulted in less funds being
available for much-needed upgrades and ongoing maintenance and puts pressure forthe Research
Councils to spend money as it comes available, rather than strategically.
"Capital pays for equipment but not the people needed to run it, update it and maintain it. So
capital income without matched streams of running costs is potentially extremely wasteful. Imagine
the computers at the Large Hadron Collider crashing because they're running on Windows 95. Or
simply the magnificent machine falling in to disrepair because there was no-one to maintain it.
"Furthermore, the scientific community should be able to choose which scientific avenues to pursue
in response to the cutting edge technology that capital investment can bring. Navigating those
avenues of scientific enquiry should remain the work of scientists and not be dictated by
government.
Cross-departmental funding for UK science and engineering
"Funding for science and research is more than the science budget - although this is a crucial
component. Many departments invest heavily in research and a number of those have today seen
deep departmental budget cuts. CaSE ca\)s on the government to take a holistic view of funding for
UK science and engineering across the whole of government,"
Mia Rosenblatt, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Breast Cancer Campaign said:
"We are delighted that the Chancellor responded directly to our campaign in his speech to
Pariiament today on the 2015-16 Spending Round, committing to continue to back the Charity
Research Support Fund and make it easier for charities to benefit from Gift Aid.
164
"The announcement by the Chancellor today is thanks to the thousands of campaigners who spoke
up fbr research and is in recognition of how vital research is to beat breast cancer and other lifethreatening diseases and ultimately save lives.
"We look forward to hearing more ofthe detail in relation to the Charity Research Support Fund and
Gift Aid and will also be looking at what the full impact ofthe spending round is on health and
research over the coming weeks and months."
Spokesperson for Research Councils UK (RCUK), said:
"The Research Councils have today noted the announcement of the allocations to the Science and
Research Budget for 2015/16 financial year. We appreciate the landscape of fiscal constraint that
provides the context for these allocations and understand that the spending review has again seen
significant cuts to public spending across the board.
"In announcing the allocations the Chancellor, George Osborne, highlighted the vital contribution
that science and research makes to UK growth. We welcome the commitment to government
investment that he outlined, including the increase to £ l . l b n in capital investment for science and
research. Investment in the Science and Research budget ensures that the UK research base can
continue to contribute positively to the future prosperity and wellbeing ofthe UK. The settlement
for 2015/16 will nonetheless present continued challenges to the research community who have
already seen very real reductions to research investment over the current spending review period.
"The Research Councils will continue to work closely with BIS to develop their delivery plans for
2015/16. At this time, we can not speculate on the allocation that will be made to individual
Councils or the impact upon specific disciplines."
Prof Lesley Yellowlees, President o f t h e Royal Society o f Chemistry, said:
"The Chancellor was right when he said investment in science is investment in our future. Britain's
world-leading science is central to creating growth and jobs.
"We are very pleased that the government has heeded the science communit/s calls by protecting
the science resource budget in cash terms and returning capital investment to 2010 levels,
protected in real terms to 2020. The Chancellor's long-term vision is to be applauded.
"But we need to see more comprehensive forward-thinking if we really want Britain to stay ahead in
the global economic race. Over past decades our government's investment in research and
development has slid towards the bottom of the international rankings - out of our G8 competitors,
only Italy spends less as a proportion of GDP.
"A commitment from all sides ofthe debate to raise total government investment in science to the
EU average of 0.7% of GDP, by the end of the next Parliament, would set Britain on the path for
science-fuelled growth."
Sharmila Nebhrajani, Chief Executive of t h e Association of Medical Research Charities
said:
"George Osborne has shown himself to be the true partner of patients by investing in science. The
public make medical research their number one charitable cause and the government's
commitment to partner their generous donations through the Charity Research Support Fund has
added 25p to every charity pound invested in universities.
"We agree with the Chancellor that medical education and research are working well where they
are and are pleased to see his commitment to keep them within BIS."
165
Paul Nurse, President of t h e Royal Society, said:
"Last year the chancellor came to the Royal Society and gave a speech that put science and
innovation at the heart of long term sustainable economic growth. He was asked to provide the
money to back that up and today he has done that.
'There is a growing consensus across pariiament and in the business community that spending on
science is an investment in the future. The Government has protected its contribution and we now
need to find ways to encourage greater commitment from industry, which is still under investing in
research.
"In recent years science has suffered, as maintaining investment means a real terms cut due to
inflation, but in the context of cuts elsewhere, science has been relatively protected. Today's
announcement should be seen as a foundation for a long term strategy of increased investment. At
present our economic competitors are outspending us in science but are not outperforming us. If
we want to stay ahead and build on our competitive advantage we need to not only match the
investment of other countries but to surpass it."
Sir John Parker GBE FREng, President of t h e Royal Academy of Engineering, said:
"I am encouraged that the Chancellor has decided to maintain the current level of public investment
in science, engineering and technology through today's spending review. Maintaining support for
Britain's great university research base is essential for strong and sustained economic growth. But
above all we need to harvest its output - that means continued investment and involvement by the
engineering companies that turn the fruits of scientific and engineering research into innovative
products and services capable of being marketed.
"We in the Academy have been strongly articulating the need for a modern industrial strategy to
establish a framework for economic growth. We are greatly encouraged that government is now
taking this agenda forward."
Prof M a r t i n Adams, President, Society for Applied Microbiology, said:
"When you look at the broader picture, Science has been relatively well supported in this spending
review, which is good news. However, the real terms cut in funding is worrying; microbes present
the worid with significant challenges and opportunities over the next few decades and there is a
great deal of work still to be done.
"Without a real terms increase in science funding, an increasing number of important research areas
will be competing for what is an effectively smaller pot. What we really need is an increase in public
funding to help prevent the looming health catastrophe that is antibiotic resistance; to ensure food
security; and to promote sustainable energy, pharmaceuticals production, and non-oil-based
manufacturing.
"For example, support for pre-commercial research in universities and research institutes means the
antibiotics of the future may become available just in time. Without sufficient support, we face a
regression in healthcare to a time when common infections killed."
Prof Sir John Tooke, President of The Academy of Medical Sciences, said:
'The Academy of Medical Sciences welcomes the Government's sustained funding ofthe research
base via the science ring fence, and preservation ofthe research ecosystem in a difficult spending
round.
166
"It is vital to maintain the capacity of our medical research ecosystem to keep pace with other
leading scientific nations and to ensure the UK is at the forefront of innovations in healthcare
technology and delivery.
"To truly reap the rewards that medical research can bring to the economy, we must all build on this
investment to ensure a stable framework for research, innovation and skills in the future."
Steve Bates, Biolndustry Association (BIA) Chief Executive Officer, said:
"The Biolndustry Association (BIA) applauds the Chancellor's announcement in the Spending Review
2015-16 to provide additional resource funding of £185 million for the Technology Strategy Board
(TSB) to support innovation, including Catapult Centres and the Biomedical Catalyst.
"The BIA is delighted that the government will continue to support the Biomedical Catalyst, one of
the key measures in its Strategy for UK Life Sciences, which has been warmly received across the
sector.
"I am meeting with the TSB next week to understand the details of how this funding will be
scheduled and allocated,
"The BIA is also pleased to see that government will maintain resource funding for science in cash
terms at £4.6 billion in 2015-16 and increase science capital funding in real terms from £0.6 billion in
2012-13 to £1.1 billion in 2015-16, and in (ine with inflation to 2016-17."
Prof Sir Peter Knight, President o f t h e Institute of Physics (lOP), said:
"We're delighted to hearof the £ l . l b n increase in capital funding available for science. This is
excellent news for the whole science community and we look forward to hearing how the
investment will be used to meet the needs of our world-leading research teams when greater detail
is given.
"The announcement that the current science budget will be maintained at £4.6 billion is a welcome
recognition of the importance of science as an engine for future growrth, but it needs to be noted
that inflation has already substantially eroded the value of funding for science in the UK, by 2-3%
per annum since 2010's flat cash settlement.
"We hope that the subsequent settlement between research councils is able to take account of the
needs of different research communities and provide our scientists with the resources they need to
maintain their worid-leading position.
"The additional £185m for the Technology Strategy Board is also very encouraging. This investment
will promote innovation, bringing academics and businesses together around the opportunities that
science creates.
"On education, significant headway has been made in the last few years on the biggest problem
facing science education in England - the shortage of specialist physics teachers,
"Tens of thousands of students each year are deprived of their entitlement to a proper physics
education because there are too few inspirational physics teachers,
"Over the past few years, through projects like the Stimulating Physics Network and lOP Teacher ,
Training Scholarships - both funded by the Department for Education and managed by the Institute
- we have plugged that gap and started to see the number of trainee physics teachers increase,
"The permanent solution, however, is going to take at least a decade to deliver. We hope the
Government has the long-term vision to continue investment in these successful projects."
167
Dr Ted Bianco, Acting Director o f t h e Wellcome Trust, said:
"In a difficult Spending Round, at a time of great economic challenge, we congratulate the
Chancellor on maintaining investment in science and research. We are particularly pleased to see
long-term commitment to provide more stable capital funding for science and we welcome the
recognition of the importance ofthe Charity ResearchSupport Fund."
"As the Chancellor commented in his speech, the UK delivers globally competitive medical research
and education exceptionally well. It is excellent news that medical research and training will remain
as part of the Department of Business Innovation and Skills."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from
the scientific community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including
scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the
Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence. This press release
contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and represents neither the views ofthe SMC nor any
other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000
media friendly scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 76118300 ifyou need an
expert to interview.
for more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.orp, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with
your comments on our service at smc&>sciencemediacen tre.org
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997).
Registered in England and Wales
168
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Edward Sykes <edward©sciencemediacentre.org>
26 June 2013 14:23
[email protected]
SMC Ver 2: Rapid Reaction: George Osbome's Spending Review (FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE)
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction
IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY 26**" JUNE 2013
Ver 2: Expert reaction to George Osborne's Spending Review
*NEW COMMENT* Prof Sir John Tooke, President of The Academy o f Medical Sciences, said:
"The Academy of Medical Sciences welcomes the Government's sustained funding ofthe research base via the
science ring fence, and preservation ofthe research ecosystem in a difficult spending round.
"It is vital to maintain the capacity of our medical research ecosystem to keep pace with other leading scientific
nations and to ensure the UK is at the forefront of innovations in healthcare technology and delivery.
"To truly reap the rewards that medical research can bring to the economy, we must all build on this investment to
ensure a stable framework for research, innovation and skills in the future."
*NEW COMMENT* Steve Bates, Biolndustry Association (BIA) Chief Executive Officer, said:
"The Biolndustry Association (BIA) applauds the Chancellor's announcement in the Spending Review 2015-16 to
provide additional resource funding of £185 million for the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to support innovation,
including Catapult Centres and the Biomedical Catalyst.
"The BIA is delighted that the government will continue to support the Biomedical Catalyst, one ofthe key measures
in its Strategy for UK Life Sciences, which has been warmly received across the sector.
"I am meeting with the TSB next week to understand the details of how this funding will be scheduled and allocated.
"The BIA is also pleased to see that government will maintain resource funding for science in cash terms at £4.6
billion in 2015-16 and increase science capital funding in real terms from £0.6 billion in 2012-13 to £1.1 billion in
2015-16, and in line with inflation to 2016-17."
*NEW COMMENT* Professor Sir Peter Knight, President o f t h e Institute of Physics (lOP), said:
"We're delighted to hear of the f l . l b n increase in capital funding available for science. This is excellent news for
the whole science community and we look forward to hearing how the investment will be used to meet the needs of
our world-leading research teams when greater detail is given.
"The announcement that the current science budget will be maintained at £4.6 billion is a welcome recognition of
the importance of science as an engine for future grovrth, but it needs to be noted that inflation has already
substantially eroded the value of funding for science in the UK, by 2-3% per annum since 2010's flat cash settlement.
"We hope that the subsequent settlement between research councils is able to take account of the needs of
different research communities and provide our scientists with the resources they need to maintain their woridleading position.
"The additional £185m for the Technology Strategy Board is also very encouraging. This investment will promote
innovation, bringing academics and businesses together around the opportunities that science creates.
169
"On education, significant headway has been made in the last few years on the biggest problem facing science
education in England - the shortage of specialist physics teachers.
"Tens of thousands of students each year are deprived of their entitlement to a proper physics education because
there are too few inspirational physics teachers.
"Over the past few years, through projects like the Stimulating Physics Network and lOP Teacher Training
Scholarships - both funded by the Department for Education and managed by the Institute - we have plugged that
gap and started to see the number of trainee physics teachers increase.
"The permanent solution, however, is going to take at least a decade to deliver. We hope the Government has the
long-term vision to continue investment in these successful projects."
Dr Ted Bianco, Acting Director of t h e Wellcome Trust, said:
"In a difficult Spending Round, at a time of great economic challenge, we congratulate the Chancellor on maintaining
investment in science and research. We are particularly pleased to see long-term commitment to provide more
stable capital funding for science and we welcome the recognition of the importance of the Charity Research
Support Fund."
"As the Chancellor commented in his speech, the UK delivers globally competitive medical research and education
exceptionally well. It is excellent news that medical research and training will remain as part of the Department of
Business Innovation and Skills."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 7611 8300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacen tre. ora. please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at smc&>sciencemediacentre.ora
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and VVales
170
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Cc:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected] iace ntre. org>
25 June 2013 16:36
Edward
Spending Review
HI Folks,
Just to say we are happy to issue reactions to the Spending Review tomorrow and Clive Cookson from the FT has
already called today saying he will want reaction...
Sadly (well ok maybe not) I have tickets for Book of Mormon and could only afford the matinee and much as I love
my job I am not cancelling.! So Ed has very kindly offered to co-ordinate this for me tomorrow. So can you please
make sure Ed and Jo (cc'd above) get copied into any comment you want to issue
Can I very gently and politely and humbly ask that if you do decide to comment you try to say something a little
...erm.-.more bold ...i don't know why but these budget/spending review 'round ups' more than any get a bit of a
collective groan from science journalists when we send 5 comments all saying' We welcome blah, blah'...I think
it's also connected to the sense of special pleading that some of them react against....
I have of course gone into battie in our collective defence and pointed out that the scientific community would be
up in arms if there was a dramaticcut and the slightly bland reactionstend to reflect a sense of relief that science
and health have been spared some of the worst cuts. However just think of the journalists when you are writing
them and bend the stick to being as bold as possible in the circumstances ...or not ...your comments after all ©
I'll be nagging our friends in BIS all day today and tomorrow to make sure we get earty sight of the outcomes for
science and health so will send over - but if any of you see them first do shout
Cheers all
Fiona
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
Tel:
E: fiona^sciencemediacentre.ore
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.ore
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at S% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
171
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
25 June 2013 13:25
Fiona Fox
Blog on industry funding of scientists
http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/followine-the-monev-misses~the-point/
following the money misses the point
Speaking on Radio 4's PM about Owen Patterson's GM speech last week, food
campaigner Joanna Blythman attacked the SMC for issuing comments to the press
from 'industiy-funded pseudoscientists'.
Joanna is not alone in raising the issue of bias and industry funding when scientists .
enter the fray on GM. Over the years a number of commentators have expressed similar
concems and in aiiother commentary on Patterson's speech Paul Nightingalefrom
!^,
Sussex University said *telling the public that industry-funded research finds GMOs are
wonderful isn't going to convince fliem, because they recognize that they have every ^
incentive to say that'.
Some of those raising questions about industry funding of science do so in good faith
and indeed some ofthe comments we issued to the press show that scientists have their
own concems about the commercial dominance of this field. However, I fear that
others deliberately set out to exploit the public's natural suspicion of industry to
discredit the scientists prepared to speak out in this debate.
The first point to make is that critics tend to seriously exaggerate and misrepresent the
level of industry funding. Let's look at fhe scientists whose comments the SMC issued
and whom these critics dismiss. Several work for research bodies like the John hines
Centre and Rothamsted Research - b^oth world class plant and agricultural science
institutes. JIC receives over 95% of funding from the public purse and charities, and
less than 5% from the private sector. Rothamsted Research gets around 88% from
public fiinds and charities, and around 12% from industry. (It is also worth noting that
GM work is only a small fraction of that 12% - most of it goes on biodiversity studies,
mathematical modelling of pest and disease epidemiology, plant pathology and honey
bees). Other experts quoted'by the SMC came from theCentre for Ecology and
Hydrology (3% industiy fundedl and Institute for Food Research (10%). And just because
172
an institute's budget has some industrial funding does not mean an individual scientist
from that institute is industrially funded. All fhe industry funding at JIC, for example,
is targeted at specific projects (e.g. antibiotic discovery in bacteria) and some of those
quoted on the SMC release have never received any industrial funding.
Other scientists quoted receive no private funding, including Professor Sir Gordon
Conway, FRS, from Imperial College London whose work is funded by the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foimdation.
The situation is similar for the SMC. Of over loo different funders including scientific
institutions, charities, universities, govemment, industry and media, the amount of
money from companies with an interest in GM is about £22k this year, 3.7% of our
income. Over our ten year history Monsanto has donated a total amount of Esk to the
SMC.
So while 'industry fimded' is technically accurate it is also misleading and perhaps
reveals as much about the bias of the critics. A better description would be 'publicly
funded scientists whose institutes also receive small amounts of ftinding from the
private sector'... not so.punchy I admit, but more accurate.
The other thing I object to about the pejorative labelling of these scientists is that it
implies even a small amount of industry funding will automatically influence
researchers. It is deeply insulting to an eminent scientist to suggest that an outside
influence, financial or othenvise, would distort their scientific findings. And while none
of us should be naive about the many competing pressures on scientists it is the case ;
that there are tools and mechanisms within science to protect experiments from this
kind of influence. Experimental design and the peer review system should protect
research from bias and, on top of that, all the institutes above have contracts with
industry which include firewalls to allow researchers freedom to publish the facts as
they are discovered.
The other thing worth noting about the label 'industry funded' is that it is getting
harder than ever to find any science that has no link industry. As Professor Colin
Blakemore says: 'the truly independent academic with no ties to industry is now a
threatened species'. Academics who discover new drugs or vaccines will ultimately have
to tum to pharmaceutical companies to help mn clinical trials and produce the
dmgs. Universities, under ever more pressures to prove 'impact', are being encouraged
to 'spin out' companies to commercialise their discoveries and many of the institutes
above have been told by govemment that public funds will only be available if they also
seek money from industry. Nor do most scientists think that working with industry is
automatically corrosive. Institutes like Rothamsted Research argue that these
collaborations allow them to turn their scientific knowledge into technologies that can
be used effectively by farmers.
_ -;
173
And then there is the thorny issue of govemment funding for science. Even if the
science budget survives a horrible cut in this week's spending review, the money
available from govemment for research is going down in real terms at a time when
promising lines of research are growing. If scientists are to move forward and continue
looking for answers to global challenges they need to explore every potential source of
research funding. Whether we like this or not, and many scientists do not, are we
seriously going to write off the whole scientific enterprise because of some closer links
with industry? And are these critics also going to dismiss the work these researchers
publish - on the many threats to the environment or on the dangers of climate change
- because this research is also linked to private funding?
None of this is to say that joumalists and campaigners should not 'follow the money'
and investigate the impact of industry funding on science. But the key word here is
'investigate'. Almost all the claims made and articles written challenging the scientific
community's links with industxy merely reference an association. But just like in
science there is a vast difference between an association and a cause. If campaigners or
joumalists believe that scientists have changed their view or adapted research findings
in retum for industry funding they should dig out the evidence, splash it on the front
pages and launch a twitterstorm. Of course, some will argue that the influence is more
subtie than that and scientists will neyer bite the handithat feeds
them. Sounds plausible, but the idea that eminent scientists would sacrifice their •:
scientific integrity and hard won reputation for tiny amounts of fimding from industry
needs to be backed up by more than a hunch ^ even if that hunch plays well with ^
readers.
Moreover, you can 'follow the mone}^ on all sides ofthe GM debate and find someone
who will gain commercially. Campaign groups who promote organic over GM want
people to buy organic foods - they are not free. And the recent highly criticised studies
on health effects of GM when fed to rats and pigs were part funded by campaign
groups. I am as unenthusiastic about following the money in relation to anti-GM
groups as I am with science, and would prefer a debate in which we all tackle
arguments and evidence on their merits. As my colleague Tom Sheldonpreviouslv
argued on this blog, it's the quality of the science that matters in the end. If a good,
strong, peer reviewed stiidy demonstrates that GM does significant harm to human
health or the environment then the SMC would be the first to shout about it to the
media. The fact that it may be funded by anti-GM campaigners would be irreleyant.
The other accusation levelled directiy at the SMC is that we 'hand pick' pro-GM
scientists to comment on these stories. This is nof the case. On IVF stories the SMC
approaches leading fertility experts, pn energy stories energy e5q)eits, cliniate stories
climate experts and so on. The quotes we issued were from top quality experts with
174
appropriate experience and expertise in plant and agricultural science, ecology and
food research.
When Peter Melchett came to visit the SMC a few years ago, a lively and spirited debate
concluded with us asking Peter's help to provide us vvith a list of leading scientists a t
respected scientific institutions who publish in peer reviewed joumals and who oppose
GM, or to tip us off to credible new studies overturning the established evidence. While
I respect Peter for coming into the SMC and enjoyed the debate, he never did deliver
that list and we are still waiting for a tip off. It would be as wrong for the SMC's staff to
trawl the country looking for 'anti- GM' scientists as it would be for us to seek out
climate sceptics or anti-MMR doctors. There is enough false balance in the media
without us amplifying its distorting effects.
This does not mean that we are telling the media to only use voices from mainstream
science. Of course not. Joumalists are very good at seeking out opposing voices and
rightiy so. But no-one should expect the SMC to be busy furnishing the press with
minority voices when there is a strong consensus within mainstream science as to
where the weight of evidence lies. That said, there are differences within plant science
on various issues and joumalists may find a richer vein of stories if they drew these out
rather than resorting to the sterile he-said/she-said wars in GM.
Most scientifically trained experts would not accept fhe framing of this debate as 'pro'
vs. 'anti' GM, though most of us have long since given up on fighting that battie with
journahsts. The scientists on our database look at the facts and make judgments ^
accordingly. If they find a systemic problem with GM, they would be the first to call for
further investigation, and several of the experts we issued last week emphasised the
point that GM is a neutral technology and each case of its use needs to be considered on
its own merits. What's more, most would not even acknowledge such a category as a
'GM scientist'. The knowledge generated through basic research in plant biology can be
applied using GM or non-GM routes, and many researchers work on both. Professor Sir
Gordon Conway, an agricultural ecologist by training and one ofthe pioneers of
Integrated Pest Management in the early 60s, once wondered out loud if people who
imagine places like Rothamsted Research see two buildings - one bathed in green light
doing the benign plant science and another bathed in a red light under a neonsign
saying 'Danger - GM'. The truth is a little different. One example of the integration of
GM and non-GM science is the work at Rothamsted that led to both the GM wheat
trials and an approach known as 'push-pull agriculture'. Same research, same
researchers, same building: one piece of science that campaigners vilify, the other tiiey
argue should be the future of African farming.
In 1999, when anti-GM campaigners hogged the airwaves in a year of frenzied
headlines on Frankenstein foods, manyof the best research scientists retreated to the
175
safety of their ivory towers and left the myths and inaccuracies unchallenged. Whether
the British public choose to accept this technology or not will rightiy rely on a much
broader set of questions than purely scientific ones, and of course campaigners,
politicians and the press should all be at the centre of this debate. But anyone
genuinely interested in ensuring that this debate is accurate and well informed would
not dismiss top scientists so quickly and would welcome the fact that they are part of
the debate too.
176
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(@sciencemediacentre.org>
24 June 2013 13:43
[email protected]
FW: some good news
Hi Folks
More ammunition for those ofyou battling internally on the openness front-these days it wins you multiple
awards @)
Congratulations to Ather and his team
Cheers
Fiona
From: M'lna, Ather |"mailto:am74(a)leicester.ac.uk1
Sent: 21 June 2m3 18:45
To: ' ^ H ^ ^ ^ ^ R Fiona Fox ffiona(5asciencemediacentre.ora^:^
t: some good news
Hi Guys
Just thought I'd drop you a quick line to say we have won another award- thanks in part to
our animal research work.
This time we won the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards - for
Best Communications Team of any university in the UK!
Our bid focussed on three things:
1. Our animal research comms strategy
2. The development of the debating platform Leicester Exchanges
3. The comms strategy around the search for Richard III
The judges said we were the clear cut winners. You can read the story on our website and
there's a link to the winners' brochure.
http://www2.le.ac.uk/news/blog/2013/iune/triumphant-night-as-universitv-wins-two-topthelma-awards
Thank you all for your support. Apologies if I have inadvertently missed someone- please
pass on to colleagues as appropriate
Have a great weekend
177
ather
Ather Mirza
Director of Press and Corporate News
University of Leicester News Centre
Division of Corporate Affairs & Planning
Rm 1.112
Fielding Johnson Building South Block
Un i v e m j ^ ^ ^ ^ i c e s t e r
tel:ti^VBHm
email: [email protected]
Elite Without Being Elitist
Times Higher Awards Winner 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Follow us on Twitter
http://twitter.com/uniofleicester
178
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(gsciencemediacentre.org>
19 June 2013 18:17
Fiona Fox
More comments on GM story - fyi
Science Media Centre Round-up VERSION 7
EMBARGOED UNTIL Thursdav 20'" June at 00:01 UK TIME
Expert reaction to Owen Paterson's speech on GIVI
Professor Cathie Martin, John Innes centre said:
'The longtime lines and highcostsfor regulatory approval of GMO crops in Europe have effectively given a
monopoly to Agbiotech multinationals in this sector. Only these global organisations can afford the high costs of
regulatory approval, which have also restricted the selection of GMO traits to be sent for approval to those that will
make significant amounts of money for these multinationals. Easing the burden of regulatory approval will allow the
potential for modern agricultural biotechnology for beneficial consumer and environmental traits to be realised and
for these traits to be developed by small businesses and publically funded institutions to benefit society."
Mark J Bailey, Director Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said:
"We welcome this development and recognise the potential for GM crops as a part of sustainable
intensification. Whilst potential benefits may arise we also need to ensure that the use of GM is safe and minimises
impact to the environment. The UK Government, industry and the research community share this responsibility for
working alongside stakeholders."
Professor Giles Oldroyd, research Director, John Innes Centre, said:
"Scientists have shown that GM is a precise and safe technology that can deliver benefits to farmers, the
environment and human health. Europe is being left behind and this means economic disadvantages to European
farmers and continued reliance on old and damaging technologies such as pesticide use. The European position is
also influencing GM policies in Africa and this is limiting the application of this very useful technology to small-holder
farmers in the developing world."
Professor David Boxer, Chief Executive, Institute of Food Research, said:
"Inexpensive, safe and nutritious foods are needed to feed the worid's growing population and we shouldn't exclude
any techniques that may help to solve this massive problem. Genetic modification (GM) is just one of the options to
be considered. The Institute of Food Research supports on-going research in GM as it could have a significant role to
play in a sustainable, safe food supply in the future and one that can help address important health issues. We
welcome the Government's position on this issue."
Professor Ottoline Leyser, Director, Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, said:
"It is time we stopped giving GM the special status of either saviour or demon and got on with improving the safety,
security and sustainability of the food supply chain. The problems facing agriculture are urgent and complex. To
179
tackle them effectively will require all the tools available, deployed with all our ingenuity. GM is just one of those
tools with strengths and weaknesses, risks and benefits just like all the others. The intense focus on this one tool and
the consequent attitude that Europe has adopted have been very damaging, shifting attention away from the real
problems and effectively restricting the use of GM to large a few large multinational companies. There is no
evidence that GM approaches to crop improvement should be treated any differently from any others."
Professor Dale Sanders, Director, John Innes Centre, said:
"As a scientist I do not advocate any particular technology over another. I would like to see a shift of focus towards
the problems that really need attention such as global hunger, malnutrition, environmental pollution and climate
change. These are complex problems requiring political, social and logistical solutions, and in many cases science can
offer game-changing support. Examples include increasing yield for subsistence farmers in Africa, reducing the
environmental impact of agriculture, making foods nutritiousor producing more food without encroaching on more
land.
"it is important that we keep our minds on these global challenges. Uttie we do in life is without accompanying
risk. Evaluation of potential scientific solutions to agriculture should be evidence-based, and the overwhelming
global conclusion regarding the deployment of GM technologies in the field is that the risks associated with the
technologies are infinitesimally small. By contrast, the gains for society and for the environment achieved through
the deployment of GM technologies have been enormous."
Professor Maurice Moloney, Institute Director and Chief Executive, Rothamsted Research, said:
"We are very happy to see clear leadership on this issue from Secretary of State Paterson. GM crops and the use of
biotechnology in agriculture has been effectively on hold in Europe for many years. Meanwhile our trading partners,
through biotechnology, have improved yields, protected the agricultural environment, reduced pesticide use and
created many new jobs. This has been discouraging for British and European science as much of the technology was
invented here. The Government's initiative puts the UK back into a leadership position in Europe on this issue and
will promote a rational approach to the adoption of technologies that our farmers want and need in order to
maintain their competitive position in worid agriculture."
Douglas Kelt, BBSRC Chief Executive, said:
"BBSRC welcomes this signal of support for world-class UK bioscience and the possibilities it offers for agri-science,
the economy and society.
"GM is one tool in a range of options that can help us to tackle complex problems, such as the need to produce
enough food for a growing population with fewer inputs.
"BBSRC supports a range of approaches to tackling these problems as we believe a broad strategy will allow the
most appropriate technique to be used depending on the challenge and the circumstance. In some cases, a GM
approach could offer a way forward and without it we would risks blocking a solution to major global issues.
"This signal of support helps to keep doors open that could help us in an ever-changing future."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an Independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scienfific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scienfific institufions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views ofthe SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
180
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 76118300 If you need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.ora. please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at smc&>sciencemediacentre.ora
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
Tel:
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
My blog: on science and the media
T^e Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
181
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a { B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(gsciencemediacentre.org>
19 June 2013 17:06
Fiona Fox
SMC Round-Up: Owen Paterson's speech on GM V3
Hi folks - for your info
Science Media Centre Round-up VERSION 3
EMBARGOED UNTIL Thursdav 20*^ June at 00:01 UK TIME
Expert reaction to Owen Paterson's speech on GIVI
Professor Dale Sanders, Director, John Innes Centre, said:
"As a scientist I do not advocate any particular technology over another. I would like to see a shift of focus towards
the problems that really need attention such as global hunger, malnutrition, environmental pollution and climate
change. These are complex problems requiring political, social and logistical solutions, and in many cases science can
offer game-changing support. Examples include increasing yield for subsistence farmers in Africa, reducing the
environmental impact of agriculture, making foods nutritious or producing more food without encroaching on more
land.
"It is important that we keep our minds on these global challenges. Little we do in life is without accompanying
risk. Evaluation of potential scientific solutions to agriculture should be evidence-based, and the overwhelming
global conclusion regarding the deployment of GM technologies in the field is that the risks associated with the
technologies are infinitesimally small. By contrast, the gains for society and for the environment achieved through
the deployment of GM technologies have been enormous."
Professor Maurice Moloney, Institute Director and Chief Executive, Rothamsted Research, said:
"We are very happy to see clear leadership on this issue from Secretary of State Paterson. GM crops and the use of
biotechnology in agriculture has been effectively on hold in Europe for many years. Meanwhile our trading partners,
through biotechnology, have improved yields, protected the agricultural environment, reduced pesticide use and
created many new jobs. This has been discouraging for British and European science as much ofthe technology was
invented here. The Government's initiative puts the UK back into a leadership position in Europe on this issue and
will promote a rational approach to the adoption of technologies that our farmers want and need in order to
maintain their competitive position in worid agriculture."
Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said:
"BBSRC welcomes this signal of support for worid-class UK bioscience and the possibilities it offers for agri-science,
the economy and society.
"GM is one tool in a range of options that can help us to tackle complex problems, such as the need to produce
enough food for a growing population with fewer inputs.
"BBSRC supports a range of approaches to tackling these problems as we believe a broad strategy will allow the
most appropriate technique to be used depending on the challenge and the circumstance, tn some cases, a GM
approach could offer a way forward and without it we would risks blocking a solution to major global issues.
187
"This signal of support helps t o keep doors open t h a t could help us in an ever-changing future."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific insfitutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisafions and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views ofthe SMC nor any other organisafion unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 7611 8300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacen tre.ora, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our sen/ice at [email protected] ora
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997), Registered in
England and Wales
http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal views which are not the views
ofthe BBC unless specifically stated.
Ifyou have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in reliance on it and notify the sender
immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.
188
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected] iace ntre. org>
19 June2013 11:24
Fiona Fox
FW: CJR link
Some of you may be interested in this debate on the role of SMCs
http://www.cir.org/the observatory/science media centers the pre5.php?pafie=l
198
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
17 June 2013 14:58
alligsciencemediacentre.org
FW: First CJR pieces on SMCs V2
HI Folks-thismay be of interest-OR running a series on the SMCs in run upto World Conference of
Science Journalists in Helsinki next week
Be interested to know what you think
Cheers
Fiona
http://www.cjr.orR/the observatorv/science media centers the pres.php?paRe=all
Science media centers & the press, part 1
Does the UK model help joumalists?
Bv Fiona Fox and Connie St. Louis
With a mission to provide the press and the public with high-quality scientific information and
sources, the Science Media Centers in the UK, Canada, Australia. New Zealand, and Javan have
become influential, but controversial players in the world of journalism. While some reporters find
them helpful, others believe they are biased toward government and industry scientists.
This three-part series will examine the role that the original center plays in the UK, the performance
ofthe centers during the Fukushima nuclear crisis, and the proposal to launch a Science Media
Center in the US. For each installment, two writers were asked to submit opening statements
replying to the question in the headline. They exchanged those statements and wrote short replies.
In Part i, Fiona Fox, the director ofthe SMC in the UK, and Connie St. Louis, the director Science
Journalism MA program at City University London and president of the Association of British
Science Writers, respond to the question: ''Does the UK model helpjournalists?" Parts 2 and 3 will be
posted on Wednesday and Friday.
Fiona Fox, opening statement:
When Cherie Blair, the wife ofthe former British Prime Minister, opened the SMC back in 2001, she
did little to win over a group of skeptical science joumalists by suggesting that the new center would
help them do their job properly. As well as irritating the reporters, Cherie missed the point that the
center was not being set up to help journalists, but to support more scientists to engage effectively with
joumalists. The SMC's founding philosophy reflected this focus on fixing science rather than fixing
joumalism, stating that *The Media will 'Do' Science Better when Scientists 'Do' the Media Better,"
and to this day I still invoke Pallab Ghosh, the BBC science correspondent, telling scientists to stop
winging from the side-lines, learn the rules ofthe game and get onto the pitch.
199
But while the SMC's mission may be to help renew public trust in science, I believe that in doing so we
help journalists as well. By facilitating more scientists to enter the fray, we have made it much easier
for journalists to access the best science in a timely manner. During crises like Fukushima, or on
complex and politicized stories like 'Climategate', the SMC proactively offers great experts for
interview, quotes from leading scientists, reliable factsheets, and press briefings where joumalists can
question experts in the middle of an unfolding story. This easy and early access helps science
joumalists to report stories accurately and in-depth, and crucially gives them an advantage in the
newsroom when general news editors are circling around a science story.
Outside times of crisis, the center helps joumalists in different ways. 'New' in a newsroom means
news. 'New' in science means preliminary and unproven. By asking third party experts to put new
research into its wider context by commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of the study in
question we help journalists to work out whether a study deserves the front page splash or a nice
cautious piece on page eight. Sometimes there are wildly different views about the same study so there
is still plenty of need for journalistic judgment. But often things are more clear cut, with a range of
experts reminding journalists that a new study is preliminary, small, only done in mice and not worthy
of headline news. On other stories the opposite happens, and the unanimously positive reactions we
issued from five renovraed stem cell experts to the recent Mitalipov paper in Cell probably helped to
guarantee its front-page splash. Joumalists particularly appreciate this work, with Richard Black, the
BBC's respected former environment correspondent once saying, "for many the Science Media Centre
is a vehicle to help reporters negotiate the minefield of chumalism and public relations".
And almost all the UK news science joumalists make use of SMC press briefings held weekly at the
Wellcome Trust. Some are with groups of leading scientists answering questions on topical
controversies like shale gas or bisphenol A. Others explain where we are with emerging viruses like
Schmallenberg or H7N9. And some are mn because a new study is especially complex or statistics
heavy and we want to get the authors in a room with the joumalists to thrash out what can and cannot
be accurately claimed.
There are other ways we help joumalists that are more hidden and hard to quantify. The SMC has
spent ten years working behind the scenes to persuade the scientific community to speak out on their
use of animals in research. And we have lobbied govemment furiously to do more to encourage their
own scientific advisers to talk to joumalists during times of crisis. Once again, the motivation for the
SMC is to remove any barriers between the public and these great experts, but having us constantly
chipping away at institutional barriers to openness can only help journalists to get to the truth more
easily.
So, yes, the SMC does help journalists, though we do so in pursuit of projecting more accurate,
evidence basfed science into the public domain rather than in pursuit of a good story or generating
more coverage of science. The fact that this 'help' often keeps stories out ofthe media or pushes them
off the front pages may not always delight news editors. The fact that the science reporters actively
seek and welcome this perspective is a credit to their integrity and desire to get it right.
200
Connie St. Louis, opening statement:
A decreasing pool of time-pressed UK science journalists no longer go into the field and dig for stories.
They go to pre-arranged briefings at the SMC, It is a science PR agency that sets the science journalism
agenda. In any other area of joumalism this practice would be ridiculed. Imagine the consequences if
political journalists behaved in this way.
Has ten years ofthe UK SMC, which was founded on the back ofthe MMR scandal by 'concerned
scientists,' helped journalists? Without wanting to demonize a PR organization for expertiy filling the
void whilst journalism re-orientates and re-configures to find a new business model for "kick-ass"
journalism, the answer must be "no." The SMC is guilty of fuelling a culture of churnalism in science
joumalism.
It has cast biased press briefings such as one on GMOs, funded by Monsanto and invited unwitting and
time-starved journalists. The results have been catastrophic. The quality of science reporting and the
integrity of information available to the public have both suffered, distorting the ability ofthe public to
make decisions about risk. The result is a diet of unbalanced cheerleading and the production of
science information as entertainment. Perhaps the greatest tragedy, or item of public interest, has
been the complicity of successive, scientifically illiterate UK governments, which have donated nearly
half a million pounds of public funds to this dishonest endeavor.
However, the truth is that more and more SMCs are springing up around the world. The question must
now be, how can an SMC that is a press agency for science help science journalists? Here are nine
suggestions that might contribute towards an agenda for reform:
1. Reverse the culture of churnalism by not writing press briefings with quotes, but return to the
important role as facilitators, enabling time-poor joumalists to access scientists.
2. Ensure that press briefings are cast in a way that includes other voices in sdence. This means not
creating a false balance that has occasionally been a characteristic ofthe climate change debate, but
allovring the public to hear a range of opinions.
3. Change the name to a science press agency, so non-scientific reporters who are increasingly
accessing the SMCs, understand its context; in the UK context, the term "SMC" is very misleading.
4. Change the SMC access policy, which currentiy favors only a small subset of journalists, and make it
available to all via A^deo conference or webinars. This will widen access to all regional and freelance
joumalists not just the London-centric national joumalists.
5. Reform the funding model. Demonstrate an ethical robustness and transparency by refusing to take
govemment money. The government is double spending on science communication: once via the SMC
and again through the funding grants that it gives to UK science research.
201
6. Openly acknowledge that science needs robust joumalism, notjust cheerleaders. Science needs a
type ofjournalism that calls it to account and is not afraid to cover it critically. Journalism isn't the
mouthpiece of science. Reports have a specific role and responsibility in society,
7. Help scientists to develop a charter that doesn't lobby govemment. The SMC should not lobby
govemment and refuse to give a platform to scientists that interfere with political decisions.
8. Appoint at the highest level a science joumalist who understands joumalism and its role, to lead and
mn all SMCs.
9. Last, but perhaps most importantiy, promote transparency in science and talk about the dark side of
science: the elephant in the room. Work with journalists who are trying to investigate and expose the
dark. As public trust in science decreases, science needs a human face. It is a human endeavor, not one
carried out by demi-gods. This means that there is lying, cheating and corruption, where careers are
made or broken by whether or not they publish in one of the global 'ivy league' joumals and obtaining
the biggest grants.
Fiona Fox, reply:
While I share many of Connie's concerns about the dearth of original and investigative reporting on
science, I cannot share her increasingly unflattering characterization ofthe UK's national news science
journalists. Having previously described them as 'docile creatures' spoon-fed by the SMC, they are now
painted as 'unwitting' individuals captured by the SMC's agenda and slavishly turning up to 'cast
biased briefings' secretiy funded by GM companies.
In Connie's world, any sense of journalistic integrity and judgment has been lost as specialist reporters
tum cheerleaders for science with catastrophic consequences for the quality of reporting. This would
indeed be terrible if true, but Connie displays her own bias by ignoring all those who feel that UK
science journalism is far from catastrophic.
There are, however, several things we can agree on. Connie can rest assured that our role as facilitators
remains a core part of our work, and even a cursory glance at our website will show that we give voice
to a huge range of different views - most recentiy on contested issues like DSM-5 or bees and
pesticides. But we are not about to reinforce the 'he-said-she-said' false balance by trawling our
universities for climate skeptics or plant scientists who take issue with GM. Yes, that means the SMC is
not always the best place for journalists to come for the outiiers, but let's face it—the media don't
generally struggle to find them, much to the finistration of many scientists.
Neither is it true that science reporting is all about churn. The SMC has worked with journalists on
many original stories, most recentiy exposing the horrendous campaign of harassment against chronic
fatigue syndrome researchers and breaking the news, hidden from public view for 10 years, that the
UK's airlines and feriy companies had completely withdrawn from transporting animals for research
after threats from animal rights activists.
202
We agree we should find new ways to offer our services to more journalists and a growing number of
regional and freelance joumalists do now have access. However, I disagree with dismissive comments
about us catering to a 'small subset' of journalists. The entire national news media is a large and
hungry beast and, critically for us, reaches a mass audience. At a time when many institutional press
officers are bypassing the mass media, the SMC is more committed than ever to ensuring this group
gets access to the best science.
Chasing small donationsfi:omover loo different bodies including universities, charities, companies,
media groups, trusts and government is painful and time consuming, so I welcome ideas about
reforming our funding model. However, I can think of few organizations that are more independent
from iFunders than the SMCs. We do not make editorial decisions in retum for funds and have never
run a briefing in retum for sponsorship from Monsanto. Whilst Connie would like us to reject
government money, others would prefer we take less from business. The reality is that having such a
wide variety of sources as well as an upper cap on donations is a healthy model, which protects us from
undue interference or control.
I wholeheartedly agree that science needs quality joumalism that calls it to account and is not afraid to
report science critically. Misrepresenting the work of SMCs will not get us any closer to this goal.
Connie St, Louis, reply:
Perhaps the most important outcome of this exchange is the clarity it may offer about the role ofthe
UK SMC. It has been acknowledged several times by the SMC that it is a science PR agency that lobbies
government, i.e. it is a science advocacy group. It is very important to have clarity on this, and to
understand and acknowledge the Centre's underlying motivation and strategy. This aim does raise the
question as to why the UK govemment is giving money to the SMC to lobby itself. Wasted public
money.
Richard Black, the former BBC environment correspondent quoted in your piece, in an interview for
this piece also said, "The Science Media Centre is too influential and clearly has an agenda that is far
too partial."
Unfortunately, the BBC is also, guilty of being 'PR-ed* by science. Ifyou visit the science section ofthe
BBC Academy, College of Journalism website (if you are based outside the UK there is a pay wall) you
vrill hear Fiona speaking for science and talking about thevalues of science. She says, "I think the
whole business of news values is fascinating, I have worked in NGOs, in politics, in overseas aid
agencies; never have I detected more of a culture between the way two groups of people work than I
have with scientists and journalists and this is a great example of this. So that when a joumalist
discovered that a commonly used vaccine might cause autism..."
The information given is not only incorrect but represents the worst kind of misleading PR spin. So to
be clear a joumalist didn't say that the MMR vaccine causes autism, A fraudulent and corrupt medical
203
scientist did. Why hasn't the BBC, who I have informed about this incorrect statement, taken it down?
The conclusion must be that the BBC is too beholden to science and it PR agency.
Fiona's piece overstates the importance ofthe SMC in helping science joumalists to navigate scientific
findings. There are no science joumalists in the UK that I know who do not understand how to report a
preliminary and small study done on mice, or indeed other papers published in a range of scientific
journals. It's one of the first things that we teach our budding science joumalists studying towards the
MA in Science Journalism at City University London.
There is growing evidence that the existence of SMCs is also encouraging news organizations to
downgrade science reporters. Recentiy the newspaper The Australian sacked its science reporter, Leigh
Dayton, The reason she was given by the editors was "they could rely on the supply of press releases
from the Australian SMC so that their general reporters could write the science news". A large
empirical study carried out recentiy by Andy Williams of Cardiff University, UK also confirmed that
science PR was increasing and independent science journalism was decreasing.
Richard Black also says "In an ideal world we wouldn't need science media centers." My riposte to that
is that there is no such thing as an ideal world, and even in an imperfect one we don't need science
media centers,
Fiona Fox and Connie St. Louis collaborated on this article. Fox is the founding director of the Science Media
Centre in the UK. She has a degree in joumalism and 25 years of experience working in media relations. St. Louis is
director of the MA program in science joumalism at City University London and president of the Association of British
Science Writers.
204
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(@sciencemediacentre.org>
17 June 2013 14:25
Fiona Fox
FW: Bad science scandal Independent article
Have found the researcher (to say all good but it's a bit more complicated than that) so just looking now for
someone to argue why the concordat was needed/ is a great idea....8.30 slot...can get lifts and all that shebang...
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-bad-science-scandal-how-factfabrication-is-damaeing-uks-Rlobalname-for-research-8660929.html?oriein=internalSearch
The bad science scandal: how factfabrication is damaging UK's
global name for research
After a string of high-profile cases, a new agreement
between scientists and the people who fund them aims
to usher in a new era of 'research purity'
J O H N LAWLESS
SUNDAY i6 JUNE 2013
Britain's leading science institutions will be told on Monday that they will be stripped of many millions of pounds in
research grants if they employ rogue researchers who fake the results of experiments, The Independent has leamt.
The clampdown comes as retractions of scientific claims by medical joumals are on course to top 500 for tfae first time
in 2013 - haring been just 20 a year in the late 1990s, when Andrew Wakefield notoriously claimed that the MMR
vaccine caused autism in children. In April, the UK's first researcher was jailed for falsifying data over a prolonged
period.
The Govemment is concerned that Britain's prized second place in global research behind the US will be at threatened
if more fact-fabricators are exposed. It knows that hundreds of thousands of jobs could easily go to foreign rivals if
British laboratories do not keep coming up with new product ideas, to be made by major multinational companies in
UK factories.
All ofthe country's 133 universites and colleges of higher education are being forced to sign a new Concordat for
Research Integrity - haring been warned by major fund providers that those who do not will be refused access to more
than £10 billion in research grants fiinded each year by British taxpayers - and as much again from the private sector.
A spokesman for Universities UK, which chaired negotations with the grant proriders, said: "From next year,
universities in the UK will have to prove compliance with the research integrity concordat in order to receive research
grant. They are doing this to help demonstrate to govemment, business, intemational partners and the wider public
that they can continue to have confidence in the research."
205
Retractions of medical claims alone in 2013 - logged by the Retraction Watch blog - are certain to be more than 400,
and could easily top 500. Some result from genuine mistakes, several plagiarise other scientists' work, breakthroughs
that haven't been checked. But as many as one in 10 of them contain lies.
Retraction Watch last week reported that the pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline is believed to have fired Jingwu
Zaiig, a former senior rice president and head of R&D at its Shanghai facility, after claims he made in the joumal
Nature Medicine were, as a company spokeswoman admitted, "misrepresented".
At the private meeting in London tomorrow, the top eight UK funding bodies will reveal what eridence they will
require university professors to produce to guarantee that their research is untainted by unreliable researchers.
The grant allocators believe it will take at least three years to achieve "research purity". They will lay dov^n a set of
rules that m\\ decide how the ethics of British scientists can be policed. The culture change demanded is immense,
and raises the prospect of Britain's university professors suddently being exposed to intense public scmtiny.
Under the new rules, universities will no longer be able to simply fire researchers who cormpt data and then ask for
more money. Instead, they will have to pro\ing their team selection and management skills in advance. They will also
have to ensure that they employ staff not just for their science knowiedge, but whom they can trust implicitiy.
More importantly, they will have to demonstrate annually that each team member's graphs and spreadsheets are
precisely correct.
Having seen Britain's first researcher jailed in April for falsifying data that went unchecked and undetected for 10
years, even the world-beating research institutes of Oxford and Cambridge will be compelled to make the same
rigorous checks as local colleges, to get the cash that will keep them in business.
Sentencing 47-year-old Steven Eaton to three months in prison for faking research data on experimental anti-cancer
drugs, Edinburgh Sheriff Michael O'Grady expressed his shock at his betrayal of tmst in the medical profession. "I feel
that my sentencing powers in this are wholly inadequate," he told Eaton. "You failed to test the drugs properly. You
could have caused cancer patients unquestionable harm."
In a personal message to all professors, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts warned them that grant
providers will now expect to be able to monitor what they do. The concordat, he wrote, "establishes, for the first time,
a mechanism for major stakeholders to come together to reriew progress towards strengthening research integrity".
Wonderful past achievements will count for httle if they get things very badly wrong in the future, he added. "We must
not be complacent. We must work together and be sure that we can show - both to the public and to our intemational
partners and competitors - how the highest possible standards of integrity are maintained.
"We must be confident that the research community has the tools to deal with any alleged misconduct by researchers
in a transparent, robust and fair manner."
The grant providers, however, had already dealt a hearier blow. The Higher Education Funding CouncilTor England
(HEFCE) said it had "consulted the higher education sector on our proposal to make compliance with the concordat a
condition of grant for institutions eligible to receive our research ftinding".
Universities UK confirmed that all ofthe universities and higher education colleges it represents have already
accepted the terms ofthe concordat. "Implementation ofthe concordat is set to become a condition \rithin the HEFCE
Financial Memorandum," a spokesman said. "This is of critical importance, as the FM is the statement of
responsibilities that universities agree to in return for public funding. A consultation exercise was carried out in early
2013, and the second stage is currently underway. The FM will be in place for the beginning of academic year 201314."
The London meeting has been called to devise a system of evidential-based checks on what is happening in research
units. Those checks, however, are already being put in place. Research Councils UK has embedded adoption ofthe
concordat within its existing assurance and reporting processes. Each year, a sample of universities in receipt of its
funds "will be asked to proride eridence of how the concordat has been implemented".
The concordat's stated aims - including "maintaining the highest standards of rigour and integrity in all aspects of
research" and "supporting a research enrironment that is underpinned by a culture of integrity and based on good
governance, best practice and support for the development of researchers" - seem easy to agree to. But achiering
"transparent, robust and fair processes to deal with allegations of research misconduct should they arise" will prove
difficult.
206
The UK's position against research rivals is now precarious, a document prepared by Research Councils UK is warning
Whitehall's economic advisors, whilst investment in cutting edge R&D may seem extravagance during a recession,
other countries are backing their belief that it is rital to create dynamic new industries to eventually lead an economic
recovery with big spurts in research funding.
"Proposed cuts in research funding would lead to a substantial fall in the UK's competitive position," it says, "as most
other developed countries are responding to difficult economic times by increasing rather than decreasing their
investment in science. The United States intends to double its scientific research budget between 2006 and 2016.
Australia, Canada, China, France and Germany also intend to increase spending significantly."
The UK currently ranks ninth among OECD countries in terms of public support for higher education in the form of
grants to universities and Research Councils for research. This compares with a position of sixteenth in 1996. But the
latest OECD figures show that the United States invests 3.1 per cent of GDP and the UKjust 1.3 per cent, below the
OECD average of 1.5 per cent.
But the most significant voice at the taskforce table tomorrow vrill be that of the Wellcome Trust, whose research
grants are funded by a £14.5 billion investment portfolio. Wellcome's presence in a working group tasked vrith
rigorously enforcing open medical research standards in Britain is a chilling reminder of what could happen if UK
research standards, traditionally among the highest in the world, were to collapse. "We believe passionately that
breakthroughs emerge when the most talented researchers are given the resources and freedom they need to pursue
their goals," says Wellcome. But those breakthroughs don't have to be fiinded, and then made, in Britain.
Whilst the 76~year-old tmst is a London-based charity and Britain's largest provider of non-govemmental funding for
scientific research, it is also second only in funding global medical research to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
And it takes a totally global view in fulfilling its search for research excellence.
Grant-funding charities like Wellcome take a dispassionately global view in their search for research excellence. And
their fear is that their money may be spent on giving advice to ordinaiy doctors worldvride, who read and believe the
scientific journals, which researchers know is wrong.
Their attempts to stop elaborately-faked data being published in the first place are driven by the fact that invariably
take years for journals to retract bogus studies — in a few paragraphs, that are usually missed by hard-working GPs ~
during which time millions of seriously-ill people are treated in ways that make their conditions worse. It took 12
years for the General Medical Council to finally strike off Andrew Wakesfield, in 2010. But his claims about MMR jabs
were still so potent in the minds of parent that they resulted in an epidemic of measles in Britain in the past year.
In 1995, Wellcome had divested itself of any interest in pharmaceuticals by selling all remaining stock to Glaxo Plc, its
then great British rival. In 2000, the Wellcome name disappeared from the dmg business altogether when
GlaxoWellcome merged vrith SmithKline Beecham, to form GlaxoSmithKline Pic.
At tomorrow's London meeting, the ex-drugs giant Wellcome will be among those judging the quality of research used
by the drugs companies it left behind.
207
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
17 June 2013 13:23
Fiona Fox
Today Programme tomorrow
Want two guests on the research integrity concordat - written up today in really big piece on pg 10 of Indy...
They want one expert to defend the importance of the Concordat and one researcher to say something a bit like it's
fine but 1. We are under pressure to publish/ why can't we make the odd mistake and retract rt that's what science
is like-self-correcting etc
Anyone out there want to do either?
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
Tel:t
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.ore
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827} and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
208
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC. SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(@sciencemediacentre.org>
17 June 2013 12:30
Fiona Fox
My latest Blog
Thanks to you allforyourgood wishes-that has been by far the best b i t ©
httD://www.sciencemediacentre.orR/whv-i-accepted-an-obe/
why I accepted an OBE
I met my future husband at a protest outside BBC Broadcasting House in 1989, called
to mark tiie first anniversary ofthe broadcast ban on Sinn Fein. He was a charismatic
socialist republican from West Belfast and I was a young pohtical activist. Defending
the democratic rights of Sinn Fein (or *Sinn Fein/IRA' as the UK media described them)
was not exactly a popular cause in London at that time and this guy had good reason tofeel he had met a kindred spirit. Fast forward some 20 years and he now openly
despairs at my evolution from rebel to respectable and suffice it to say that news of
:
getting an honour with the words British Empire in the title has not gone down well
with him indoors.
Nor, despite my new found respectability, have I ever been a fan of the royals. Unlike
David Colquhoun, I struggled to care much about the Royal Society recently letting
Prince Andrew into the fold (as Paul Nurse said: "the clue is in the title") but I have
always found the scientific establishment's love-in with the royals one of its less
inspiring qualities. I was rather pleased when a friendly civil servant revealed that he
had removed my name from an invitation list to a Buckingham Palace garden party,
knowing that I would rather stick pins in my eyes.
So all things considered you would be forgiven for thinking that when a letter arrived
offering me an OBE I would justtick the decline box and never mention it again.
But it seems I haye found it within myself to accept, so here are my reasons:
Because the recognition comes not from the royals or the state but froiri science; it was
scientists who wanted to recognise me and the award is for my services to science. That
feels good for a girl who didn't take a single science subject at O level but has fallen in
love with the whole scientific enterprise. If I have substituted science for political
idealism that is partly because some of what appeals to me about revolutionaries I now
find in science, including grand ambitions for a better world and a positive vision of
progress.
209
I also accepted it because I think this gong can only be interpreted as a vote in favour of
scientists speaking out. I'm sure my critics will say I got it for cosying up to the
scientific establishment, but that would miss the point about what the SMC
represents. This Centre has pioneered the need for more scientists to engage with the
really messy, contentious and politicised science stories. The words 'safe' or 'easy
option' dp not exist in the SMC's vocabulary and in some ways the SMC has been athom
in the side of those in government, industiy and scientific institutions who continue to
place obstacles to scientists speaking out.
I also like the fact that leading scientists nominated a science press officer for a gong.
Not being someone who has ever paid much attention to the honours list I have no idea
how many press officers get them, but I'd hazard a guess that it's a small number.
Scientists do the most amazing work but> as many plant scientists leamed to their cost
during the 1999 media frenzy on GM, scientists need to earn their license to practice
fi'om the public and cannot stay in their ivory towers ignoring the media. Science PR
has had a bad rap recently so I like to think this OBE is a welcome piece of recognition
for the role that press officers play.
I do however have a sour note. If I had refused this gong it would have been less to do^
with maintaining marital harmony and more to. do with residual anger at the
scandalous way that Professor Colin BJakemore was treated by this system a few years ago.
Colin remains the only former head of a research council who has not been honoured,,
and secret minutes leaked to the media at the time proved that it was a direct result of
his outspoken support for animal research. On hearing the news Colintook to the
airwaves to threaten his immediate resignation from the MRC unless a leading
representative ofthe govemment went public tp confirm that they fully back the use of
animals in research... They did and he stayed at the head ofthe MRC, but he is still not
a Sir. That I have been given an OBE after ten years of running press briefings on
animal research and fighting publicly for more openness on the subject suggest that the
dark forces that blocked Blakemore may have moved on. Someone should how right
this wrong.
It may be crass to say I share this honour with my colleagues but I will say emphatically
that I would not have got a sniff of it were it not for the intelligent, talented, passionate
and courageous ypimg scientists that make up Team SMC. As a friend of my elderly
mother told me OBE stands for Other Buggers Efforts...never a truer word!
210
H^ymena O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(@sciencemediacentre.org>
14 June 2013 09:05
Fiona Fox
This may be of interest
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science~environment-22845865
Cheers
Fiona
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
Tel:
E: fioha(a),sciencemediacentre.org
Web: v^^ww. sc iencemediacentre .org
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Cenlre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, conwrate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with
donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
Tel:'
E: [email protected]
Web: vvww.sciencemediacentre.org
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the nevra media when science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Cenlre, with
donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.and i did
211
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
13 June 2013 21:27
Fiona Fox
Fwd: CaSE pays tribute to former Director Nick Dusic
Very sad news....
Sent from my iPad
Begin forwarded message:
From: Helen Jamison <helen(g),sciencemediacentre.org>
Date: 13 June 2013 21:11:39 BST
To: All <allf5).scienccmediacentre.org>
Subject: CaSE pays tribute to former Director Nick Dusic
http://sciencecampaian.org.uk/?p=12673
Sent from my iPhone
213
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
12 June 2013 17:41
Fiona Fox
Sharmila Nebhrajani in New Scientist on spending review
HI Folks - not sure if you saw this piece by Shar Nebhrajani in new scientist this week. Maybe I'm wrong but it feels
to me like more people are mentioning the proposal to move MRCtoDH in the last day ortwo. ifany ofyou have
strong views on either side please do shout - we would be happy to issue comments or place an opinion piece if
anyone is burning to speak out.
Cheers
Fiona
http://www.newscientlst.com/article/dn23675-uk-medical-research-must-not-be-a-victim-ofausteritv.html?cmpid=RSS I NSNS 12012-GLOBAL I online-news
UK medical research must not be a victim of austerity
•
•
11:11 10 June 2013 bv Sharmila Nefahraiani
For similar stories, visit the Comment and Analvsis Topic Guide
Proposals to save money by shifting responsibility for the UK's key medical research body are deeply worrying,
says a leader of research charities
It is the age of austerity. As the British govemment's latest spending review discussions near their climax and the
mathematical reality of tough budget choices become clear, one set of proposals appears to be gaining traction.
I'm talking about the idea of moving key science activities from the government's Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills - which is responsible for scientific'research and universities - to the Department of Health
(DoH), which already runs the National Health Service. The plan appears to be to transfer the management and
costs of the Medical Research Council (MRC) and medical schools to the health department.
Difficult times do call for consideration of radical solutions, but we must be very wary of damaging the UK's
international excellence in biomedical science. We must invest in one of the UK's few remaining areas of global
strength.
The UK punches significantly above its weight in science - in global terms, it has only 4 per cent of scientists but
11 per cent of research citations and 14 per cent of top-selling medicines. Science is, as the
government's Strategy for Life Sciences recognised, a key driver of economic growth.
As Paul Nurse, president of the UK's Royal Society, said this week, science is the "seed corn" of our economy and when you need the growth of future harvests, you don't eat your seed corn.
The MRC, in turn, could well be the seed corn of all science. Its role in discovery, on which so much work to
translate basic research to clinical application is based, is crucial.
Ecological riches
.^_^_
214
So what is the case for the MRC remaining in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills alongside the
other British research councils? Special as it is, it exists in a wonderfully rich ecosystem of such bodies thai span
the physical and biological sciences, engineering and beyond.
Basic scientific discovery works best when it is interdisciplinary - when physicists and mathematicians have a
chance to woric with geneticists, when nanotechnologists can work alongside structural biologists. It's the kind of
approach that, by combining medicine and physics, brought us magnetic resonance imaging. Many of the fields
where the UK aspires to lead - synthetic biology, for example - depend on research that crosses boundaries
between disciplines in this way. Decoupling the MRC from its science siblings could fatally undermine that
possibility.
Similariy, transferring the responsibility for medical schools may lead to a dangerous detachment of doctor
training from other disciplines in universities.
The l o n g game
But are there synergies with the health budget that might outweigh these disadvantages? I am not convinced.
DoH research , quite properiy, prioritises advances that will benefit patients, the quicker the better. That's a
laudable aim but the department's focus, mindset and time horizon are completely different to those of the MRC.
Discovery science is, by its very nature, a long-term play. It works under the Haldane principle - that research
priorities should be set without interference from politicians, who might be more interested in near-term goals.
The biggest worry of all is the money one. Health service budgets are under pressure as never before: health
price inflation is running at double-digit levels. The temptation to raid the funds of the MRC or indeed the budgets
for training doctors to increase spending on the National Health Service will be immense. We need to find a way
to ensure that the UK's essential science research seed com is not eaten in the face of a growing health-funding
crisis.
Sharmila Nebhraiani is chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities, based in London
215
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fion a ©sciencemediacentre. org>
12 June 2013 10:03
Fiona Fox
Nature: UK scientists fear further cuts
http://vyww.nature.com/news/uk-scientists-fear-fiirther-cuts-1.13180
UK scientists fear further cuts
Funding jitters rife ahead of govemment spending review.
•
Daniel Cressev
11 June 2013
With anxiety rising about what the immediate fiiture may hold for Britain's science funding, the man
responsible for the nation's finances is trying to allay researchers' fears.
Science "is a personal priority for me", chancellor ofthe exchequer George Osbome told reporters on 6
June after a ceremony to mark the completion ofthe roof of the new £650-million (US$1.1-billion) Francis
Crick Institute under construction m London.
On 26 June, Osbome is set to unveil the next comprehensive spending review (CSR), which sets spending
for govemment departments. He said that he hoped to make clear the government's "long-term
commitment" to research in the new review, but scientists fear another budget freeze. Asked if he could cut
science after his supportive statements, the chancellor said that he would not pre-empt the CSR but added:
"You can read between the lines that I'm going to do everything I can to make sure Britain has a bright
scienrific future."
The previous spending review, in 2010, set budgets for govemment departments for the four financial years
to 2014-15. June's CSR will apply to just the 2015-16 fiscal year — because a new budget will be crafted
after a general elecrion in May 2015 — and Osborne has made it clear he wants cuts to most departments.
Despite its short duration, this CSR is important, says Kieron Flanagan, a science-policy researcher at
Manchester Business School. "You can do damage in one year" if spending is cut back severely, and
whoever wins the election in 2015 would be likely to work from the existing framework, he says.
Analysts are especially keen to know what the govemment will do with the 'ring fence' that was placed
aroimd the science budget in 2010, freezing it at £4.6 billion a year. The fence spared core spending areas
— such as grants that are awarded by the country's research councils — from the cuts inflicted on other
216
public sectors, although the science budget still lost money in real terms each year. The umbrella group
Universities UK has calculated that, when inflation is taken into account, the deficit is £600 million over the
current four-year CSR period.
And, in any event, the ring fence had holes. The 2010 CSR moved capital spending in science — monies
allotted to large infrastmcture projects such as buildings and facilities — outside the ring fence, away from
the core science budget. That made infrastmcture vulnerable to cuts, and projects such as the United
Kingdom Infrared Telescope in Hawaii face closure as a result (see Nature 486, 168: 20121
Many policy analysts expect the ring fence around science funding to be retained in the new CSR. But some
worry that it may be removed or that additional categories of science money could be moved outside it.
One rumour in circulation is that the Medical Research Council (MRC), which is a major funder of UK
medical research, will be moved from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills — the department
in charge ofthe science budget - ^ to the Department of Health, where^it might be more vulnerable to cuts or
to a ch^gejnjeseg^chjocus. I^^
chanty^^cMcllcM
sKjftthejbalance^frornT^
Osbome would not comment during the Crick Institute event on a move for the MRC, but said that "the
absolutely cmcial thing is we fimd basic scientific research — mcluding basic scientific research in
medicine — and I'm not prepared to do anything that puts that at risk".
James Wilsdon, a science-policy researcher at the University of Sussex, says that another year of flat cash
for science would be "painful but survivable". Deeper cuts, he says, would be another matter.
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
Tel:
E: fiona(S),sciencemediacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with
donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997), Registered in England and Wales
217
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
07 June 2013 12:28
Fiona Fox
Interesting piece in today's Guardian
http://www.euardian.co.uk/science/bloE/2013/lun/05/trust-in-science-studv-pre-reEistration
Trust in science would be improved by study preregistration
O p e n l e t t e r : W e m u s t e n c o u r a g e scientific journals to accept studies before the results are in
•
•
•
Chris Chambers. Marcus Munafo and more than 70 signatories
auardian.co.uk. Wednesday 5 June 2013 12.45 BST
Jump to comments (40)
In an idea! world, scientific discoveries would be independent of what
scientists wanted to discover. A good researcher would begin with an idea, devise a
method to test the idea, run the study as planned, and then decide based on the
evidence whether the idea had been supported. Following this approach would lead
us step-by-step toward a better understanding of nature.
Unfortunately, the life sciences are becoming increasingly estranged from this way
of thinking. Early in their training, students learn that the quest for truth needs to be
balanced against the more immediate pressure to "publish or perish". For a junior
scientist to compete at securing a permanent academic position, her top priority
must be to publish in journals with the greatest prestige and impact. If she survives
to become a senior scientist, she's likely to then pass this lesson on to her own PhD
students.
This publishing culture is toxic to science. Recent studies have shown how intense
career pressures encourage life scientists to engage in a range of questionable
practices to generate publications - behaviours such as cherrv-pickinq data or
analyses that allow clear narratives to be presented, reinventing the aims of a study
after it has finished to "predict" unexpected findings, and failing to ensure adequate
statistical power. These are not the actions of a small minority; thev are common.
and result from the environment and incentive structures that most scientists work
within. .
At the same time, journals incentivise bad practice by favouring the publication of
results that are considered to be positive, novel, neat and eve-catchina. In many life
sciences, negative results, complicated results, or attempts to replicate previous
studies never make it Into the scientific record. Instead they occupy a vast
unpublished file drawer.
The scientific community is well aware of these problems - in fact, we've known
about them for decades. The problem is that any one scientist opting to work
beyond the system immediately disadvantages herself relative to her peers. The
only solution is structural reform, and to this end some of us have recently taken
steps to drive change.
Since May this year, the journal Cortex, a peer-reviewed outlet for science on the
nervous system and behaviour, has offered authors the opportunity to publish a type
of article called a registered report. Unlike traditional scientific publishing, in which
manuscripts are peer reviewed only after studies have been completed, registered
reports are reviewedbe/bre scientists collect data. If the scientific question and
methods are deemed sound, the authors are then offered "in-principle acceptance"
of their article, which virtually guarantees publication regardless of how the results
turn out.
The journals Attention. Perception & Psvchophvsics and Perspectives on
Psychologicai Science have launched similar proiects. Both initiatives borrow from
the now-established requirement that clinical trials pre-register their study protocols.
But these new initiatives go even further by offering publication ofthe eventual
results in the same journal, regardless of what is found.
By basing editorial decisions on the question and method, rather than the
results, pre-registration overcomes the publication bias that blocks negative findings
from the literature. And by conducting peer review both before and after a study is
completed, questionable practices to increase "publishability" are greatly reduced.
The aim here Isn't to punish the academic community for playing the game that we
created; rather, we seek to change the rules of the game itself.
Critics have argued that pre-registration is overzealous and will hinder exploration,
meaning serendipitous findings would remain hidden to us. We agree that
exploration is vital, but while this concern Is understandable. It Is also easy to guard
against. For Instance, the registered reports initiative allows authors to report on any
aspect of their data - even when such analyses are not registered at the outset.
However, these outcomes are clearly labelled as exploratory to make them distinct
from the pre-planned analyses. Registered reports also require authors to publicly
release their raw data so that other scientists can explore the results In
unanticipated ways, now and in the future.
Our publishing culture Is conservative and slow to evolve. Following the Cortex
initiative, some of us have witnessed quiet resistance to pre-reglstratlon from other
journals. These outlets fear that agreeing to publish papers before seeing the data
could lock them Into publishing negative results or other findings conventionally
regarded as "boring". This Is despite the fact that clear-cut negative outcomes can
be tremendously Informative, telling us which potential Interventions don't work or
which suspected phenomena don't actually exist.
The deeper concern of journals is that pre-registration threatens existing "prestige"
hierarchies and could reduce a journafs impact factor - a metric that is arguably
meaninaless as an indicator of scientific gualltvand. in fact, predicts the rate of
article retractions due to fraud.
Nobody can expect scientists to sacrifice their livelihoods or those of their proteges
for the good of the cause. So, as a group of scientists with positions on more than
100 journal editorial boards, we are calling for all empirical journals In the life
sciences - including those journals that we serve - to offer pre-regIstered articles at
the earliest opportunity. The guidelines for the initiatives
at Cortex and Perspectives are straightforward, and while specific kinds of studies
will require specific solutions, the general principle Is widely applicable. For preregistration to benefit science it must be embraced by a broad spectrum of journals.
study pre-reglstratlon doesn't fit all forms of science, and it Isn't a cure-all for
scientific publishing. But It Is a crucial part of urgent wider reform. Our publishing
culture is no longer fit for purpose and the time has come to offer scientists a
genuine alternative to "publish or perish". If the life sciences are to preserve a
legacy of truth, journals must welcome pre-registration with open arms.
Jump to comments
Prof Paul Aveyard, University of Oxford, UK (on editorial board of Addiction)
Prof IVIark Bellgrove, Monash University, Australia (editorial board: Journal of
Attention Disorders)
Dr Marco Bertamini, University of Liverpool, UK (editorial board: Acta
Psychologica, Arts & Perception)
Dr Sven Bestmann, University College London, UK (on editorial board of Frontiers
in Human Neuroscience)
Prof Dorothy Bishop, University of Oxford, UK (editorial boards: Autism, Laterality
and former editor of Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry)
Prof Bjoern Brembs, University of Regensburg, Germany (editorial boards: of
Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience, PLOS ONE)
Prof John Britton, University of Nottingham, UK (former editor-in-chief of Thorax)
Prof Anne Castles, Macquarie University, Australia (editorial boards: Cognitive
Neuropsychology, Cortex, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, and Scientific
Studies of Reading)
Dr Chris Chambers, Cardiff University, UK (editorial boards: Cortex and PLOS
ONE)
Prof Axel Cleeremans, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium (editorial board:
Consciousness and Cognition, field editor-in-chief of Frontiers in Psychology and
former editor of Psychologica Belgica)
Dr Molly Crockett, University College London, UK (on editorial board of Social
Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience)
Dr Sean David, Stanford University, US (editorial board: Nicotine & Tobacco
Research)
Prof Bill Deakin, University of Manchester, UK (editorial boards: Schizophrenia
Research, Journal of Psychopharmacology
Prof Sergio Della Sala, University of Edinburgh, UK (editor-in-chief. Cortex)
Prof Zoltan Dienes, University of Sussex, UK (editorial boards: Cortex, Frontiers in
Consciousness Research, Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and
Practice)
Dr Simon Dymond, Swansea University, UK (editorial boards: Analysis of
Gambling Behavior, Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, Journal ofthe
Experimental Analysis of Behavior, The Behavior Analyst, European Journal of
Behavior Analysis)
Prof Klaus Ebmeier, University of Oxford, UK (editorial boards: Biological
Psychiatry. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, International Journal of
Neuropsychopharmacology, American Journal of Neurodegenerative Disease,
Depression Research and Treatment)
Prof Gary Egan, Monash University, Australia (editorial boards: Human Brain
Mapping, Journal of Neuroinformatics, International Joumal of Imaging Systems and
Technology, Frontiers in Neuroinformatics)
Dr Pete Etchells, Bath Spa University, UK (editorial board: BMC Psychology)
Prof Matt Field, University of Liverpool, UK (editorial boards: Addiction, Drug and
Alcohol Dependence, Psychopharmacology)
Prof Gabriele Fischer, Medical University of Vienna, Austria (editorial board:
Addiction)
Prof Jonathan Flint, University of Oxford, UK (editorial board: PLOS Genetics)
Prof Ingmar Franken, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands (editorial
boards: Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Frontiers in Psychopathology, Journal of
Addiction)
Dr Joy Geng, University of California Davis, US (editorial board: PLOS ONE,
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience)
Prof Morton Ann Gernsbacher, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US (editorial
board: Cognitive Psychology, Discourse Processes, former chief editor. Memory
and Cognition)
Prof Bradley Gibson, Notre Dame University, US (editorial boards: Attention,
Perception & Psychophysics, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal
of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Visual Cognition)
Dr Sam Gilbert, University College London, UK (editorial board: PLOS ONE)
Dr Stephen Gilman, Harvard University, USA (editorial board: Nicotine & Tobacco
Research)
Prof Justin Harris, University of Sydney, Australia (editorial boards: PLOS ONE,
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes)
Prof Matt Hickman, University of Bristol, UK (senior editor and deputy regional
editor. Addiction)
Dr Lee Hogarth, University of New South Wales, Australia (editorial boards:
Frontiers in Cognition, Quarieriy Journal of Experimental Psychology)
Dr Alex Holcombe, University of Sydney, Australia (editorial board: Perspectives
on Psychological Science)
Dr Hans IJzerman, Tilburg University, The Netheriands (special issue editor.
Frontiers in Cognition)
Prof John loannidis, Stanford University, US (editorial boards: Lancet, PLOS
Medicine, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Science Translational Medicine,
Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, International Journal of Epidemiology, Cancer
Treatment Reviews, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, PLOS ONE, Journal of
Translational Medicine, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Clinical Trials,
Journal of Empirical Research in Human Research Ethics, Journal of Evaluation in
Clinical Practice, Open Medicine, Biomarker Research, Human Genomics and
Proteomics, Research Synthesis Methods, editor-in-chief, European Joumal of
Clinical Investigation)
Prof Rich Ivry, University of California, Berkeley, US (editorial boards: Journal of
Cognitive Neuroscience, Cerebellum)
Prof Jaakko Kaprio, University of Helsinki, Finland (editorial boards: Addiction,
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Twin Research and Human Genetics)
Prof Keith Laws, University of Hertfordshire, UK (editorial boards: BMC
Psychology, PLOS ONE)
Dr Bernard Le Foil, University of Toronto, Canada (editorial boards:
Neuropsychopharmacology, PLOS ONE, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, Frontiers
in Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics, Scientific Worid Journal, Open Addiction
Research, Joumal of Addiction Research and Therapy, International Journal of
Clinical and Experimental Medicine, American Journal of Translational Research)
Prof Steven Luck, University of Califomia, Davis, US (editorial boards:
Psychological Science, Attention, Perception & Psychophysics)
Prof Michael Lynskey, Kings College London, UK (editorial board: Addiction)
Dr James MacKillop, University of Georgia, US (editorial boards: Addiction,
Nicotine & Tobacco Research)
Prof John McLeod, University of Bristol, UK (editorial board: Addiction)
Dr Tom Manly, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, UK (editorial boards:
Neuropsychology, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation)
Prof Antony Manstead, Cardiff University, UK (editorial board: Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, former chief editor, British Journal of Social
Psychology)
Prof Jason Mattingley, University of Queensland, Australia (editorial boards: Brain
& Cognition, Coriex, Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurocase, Neuropsychologia)
Prof Matt McGue, University of Minnesota, US (editorial Boards: Addiction,
Behavior Genetics)
Dr Hayden McRobbie, Queen Mary University of London, UK (editorial boards:
Addiction, Journal of Smoking Cessation, Nicotine & Tobacco Research)
Prof Marcus Munafo, University of Bristol, UK (editorial boards: Addiction, Drug
and Alcohol Dependence, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Annals ofthe New York
Academy of Sciences: Addiction Reviews, International Journal of
Neuropsychopharmacology, International Joumal of Molecular Epidemiology and
Genetics, Journal of Psychopharmacology)
Dr Rachael Murray, University of Nottingham, UK (editorial board: Addiction)
Dr Ray Niaura, Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies, US
(editorial boards: Nicotine & Tobacco Research, BMC Public Health, JournaJ of
Addiction, American Joumal of Health Behavior)
Dr Brian Nosek, University of Virginia, US (guest editor for the Registered
Replications project, Social Psychology)
Prof Brad Postie, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US (editorial board: Journal of
Cognitive Neuroscience, former handling editor, Neuroimage)
Prof Wim Rtedel, Maastricht University, Netherlands (editorial boards: Journal of
Psychopharmacology, Intemational Journal of Tryptophan Research)
Prof John Rothwell, University College London, UK (editorial boards: Brain
Stimulation, Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, editor-in-chief, Experimental
Brain Research, former deputy editor. Brain)
Dr Pia Rotshtein, University of Birmingham, UK (editorial board: Coriex)
Dr Ayse Saygin, University of California San Diego, US (editorial boards: PLOS
ONE, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience)
Dr Peter Selby, University of Toronto, Canada (editorial board: Addiction)
Dr Lion Shahab, University College London, UK (editorial board: Addiction)
Dr Jon Simons, University of Cambridge, UK (editorial board: Quarieriy Journal of
Experimental Psychology)
Prof Barbara Spellman, University of Virginia, US (editor, Perspectives on
Psychological Science)
Dr Petroc Sumner, Cardiff University, UK (editorial board: Journal of Experimental
Psychology: Human Perception & Periormance)
Dr Peter Talbot, University of Manchester, UK (editorial Board: Journal of
Psychopharmacology)
Dr Nicholas Timpson, University of Bristol, UK (editorial board: PLOS ONE)
Dr Michael Ussher, St George's, University of London, UK (editorial board:
Addiction)
Prof Wim van den Brink, University of Amsterdam, Netheriands (editorial boards:
Sucht, Suchttherapie, editor, European Addiction Research)
Prof Frederick Verbruggen, University of Exeter, UK (editorial boards:
Experimental Psychology, Quarieriy Journal of Experimental Psychology)
Dr Antonio Verdejo-Garcia, Monash University, Australia (editorial boards:
Addiction, PLOS ONE)
Dr Ed Vul, University of California, San Diego, USA (editorial board: PLOS ONE)
Prof Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (editorial
boards: Cognitive Psychology, Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Psychonomic
Bulletin & Review)
Prof Andrew Whitehouse, University of Westem Australia (editorial Boards:
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Journal of Speech, Language and
Hearing Research, PLOS ONE)
Dr Jelte Wicherts, Tilburg University, Netherlands (editorial boards: Intelligence,
Psychological Methods)
Prof Reinout Wiers, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands (editorial boards:
Addiction, Frontiers in Psychopathology, Addiction Biology)
Prof Jeremy Wolfe, Han/ard University, US (editor-in-chief. Attention, Perception, &
Psychophysics)
Additional signatories received after publication
Dr Jeremy Gray, Michigan State University, US (editorial boards: Frontiers in
Neuroscience, Joumal of Intelligence, Journal of Personality)
Dr Irina Harris, University of Sydney, Australia (editorial board: Visual Cognition)
Dr Adam Leventhal, University of Southern California, US (editorial boards:
Nicotine and Tobacco Research, Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Addiction,
Frontiers in Addictive Disorders, Frontiers in Behavioral and Psychiatric Genetics,
Frontiers in Psychopathology)
Dr Joe McClernon, Duke University, US (editorial board: Nicotine and Tobacco
Research)
Prof lan Penton-Voak, University of Bristol, UK (editorial boards: Evolution and
Human Behavior, Frontiers in Evolutionary Psychology)
Dr Anina Rich, Macquarie University, Australia (editorial board: Journal of
Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance)
Prof Daniei Simons, University of Illinois, US (editorial boards: Evolution and
Human Behavior, Frontiers in Evolutionary Psychology
Dr Mark Williams, Macquarie University, Australia (editorial board: PLOS ONE)
The opinions expressed above are those ofthe signatories and need not represent
the official views ofthe named journals.
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected] iace ntre. org >
06 June 2013 17:30
Fiona Fox
Good guest blog on my blog about yesterday's story on pregnanacy and chemicals
http://www.sciencemediacentre.orE/harms-of-helpful-preEnancv-advice/
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
Tel:
E: fiona#sciencerne3iacentre.orE
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.orB
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charifies, unwersittes, corporate organisafions and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 596 ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
225
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
05 June 2013 11:56
Fiona Fox
Comments on science budget issued around SMC/CASE press briefing this morning. Just
fyi
Science Media Centre Round-Up
FOR IMMEDIATE REtEASE 5*^ June 2013.
Expert comment on forthcoming spending review
tord Phil Willis, Chair AMRC, said:
"We must be alert to the manipulation ofthe science budget to plug gaping holes in departmental budgets. The
threat of the MRC moving into the Department of Health is particularly worrying as this could lead to the
amalgamation of NIHR and MRC budgets, greater political influence on curiosity driven research and a threat to the
Haldane principle. The removal of MRC from the research council family could have far reaching consequences for
the growing need for interdisciplinary research programmes. Let us hope that achieving even a modest increase in
real terms spending is not a Pyrrhic victory.
Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK said:
"Cancer Research UK urges the Government to keep the ring-fenced science budget so the UK can continue to
deliver world-class science. This is a thoroughly worthwhile investment because it will lead to better treatments for
patients while offering economic growth for the whole country."
Dr Sarah Main, Director of Campaign for Science and Engineering, said:
"CaSE recognises the challenge forthe government in making budget efficiencies whilst also stimulating economic
grovrth. Science and engineering are stimulators of economic growth and are part of our country's story of
prosperity. Therefore we urge the government to set a positive long-term trajectory for public investment in science
and research that will not only stimulate recovery from our current financial situation, but will also maintain the vital
flow of discovery and innovation that has fed our country's economy for centuries.
A long-term framework for increased investment in science and research would send a positive signal that will
stimulate growth: by inspiring confidence in foreign investors, by reaping the rewards of competing in the premier
league of scientific nations, and by enabling the companies, charities and universities that invest in UK science to
construct their investment strategies around a secure government framework."
Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology said:
"For the Government's growth agenda to work, investment in the science budget is fundamental; this is
Incontestable. Nearly 30% ofthe nation's GDP is attributed to the science and engineering sector, and this
economic benefit comes from the development of products and processes, employment, and importantly, avoided
costs. The UK has a world leading reputation for science; this can only be maintained if the Government commits to
supporting the sciences long term and demonstrates this commitment through greater investment in scientific
research in UK institutions and government departments.
226
"The science budget is much more than Government's investment in the research base via the Research Councils,
vital though that is. Research funded within, and from, all government departments is critical to the UK's
competitive future and the health and well-being ofthe nation. We cannot afford to let this wider research resource
dwindle further in future budget settlements."
John Hardy, Alzheimer and Parkinson's researcher said:
"The government should ask itself, "do we want the UK to bea knowledge based economy?". If they want that,
then they need to invest in the creation of knowledge and in higher education. We will Judge their true intentions
by their actions."
Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of t h e ABPI said:
"If the UK is to remain a global leader in science it is essential that the Government sustains investment
and protects the science budget against rises in inflation. I am hugely proud o f t h e UK's historic role in
furthering scientific discovery, but taking this for granted is the first step towards decline in face of stiff
international competition.
"The life sciences industry is a key driver of economic growth in the UK and the Government has
committed t o supporting our work t o make the UK both healthier and wealthier. But so much of what we
achieve in the UK is underpinned by a strong science base which includes world class facilities and leading
educational institutions. Without this strong base, the life sciences industry would struggle t o tap in t o the
best brains and talent t o develop new medicines, and many companies would therefore think twice about
investing in the UK."
lan Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive o f t h e Science IVIuseum Group said:
"We welcome the Government's commitment t o science and engineering and t h e
recognition of its importance for boosting the economy. The Science Museum Group plays a vital role in
helping t o inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers t o drive the economy. However, for this
success t o be achieved, it is essential that the Government's science policy is more joined up and that this
is reflected in an ongoing commitment t o funding across the scientific community."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you con call us on 020 7611 8300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacen tre.ora, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at smc0sciencemediacentre.ora
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guai-antee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
227
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NWl 2BE
Tel:'
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.orE
My bfog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views fi'om the scientific community to the news media when
science is in th^ headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, untversifies, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, w/ith donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
228
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Fiona Fox <fion a ©sciencemediacentre. org >
Sent:
To:
04 June 2013 15:49
Fiona Fox
Subject:
Any comments on the science budget
Hi Folks-just to remind you thatyou haveendof play today (or 9.00am tomorrow) to provide us with a comment
on the need to protect science spending in the forthcoming spending re view....just got one at the moment and it
looks lonely....do send me comments...
Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology said,
"For the Government's growth agenda to work, investment in the science budget is fundamental; this is
incontestable. Nearly 30% of the nation's GDP is attributed io the science and engineering sector, and
this economic benefit comes from the development of products and processes, employment, and
importantly, avoided costs. The UK has a worid leading reputation for science; this can only be maintained
if the Government commits to supporting the sciences long term and demonstrates this commitment
through greater investment in scientific research in UK institutions and government departments." Adding,
"The science budget is much more than Government's investment in the research base via the Research
Councils, vital though that is. Research funded within, and from, all government departments is critical to
the UK's competitive future and the health and well-being ofthe nation. We cannot afford to let this wider
research resource dwindle further in future budget settlements.
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NWl 2BE
Tel:'
E: fiona^sciencemediacentre.orE
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.orE
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stones and views from the scientific community to the new^s media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institufions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisafions and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
229
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
03 June 2013 17:52
Fiona Fox
Any comments on the pending review for us
Hi Folks
The SMC and CASE are running a press briefing later this week on the spending review. The panel is already too big
so not looking for more speakers but I did think I might issue some comments from other voices on the day so am
keen to get any comments you have to make about why the Government should protect the science budget (or
not!): I must admit that we do occasionally get journalists saying that comments on this kind of story can be
...erm...a little dull/predictable...so feel free to let rip and be as exciting edgy as is possible on anything to do with a
budget I
I would need by comments by end of play tomorrow ptease to put on seats for the presser
Cheers
Fiona
Science Media Centre and Campaign for Science and
Engineering Briefing
EmbarEoed until OO.Olhrs Thursdav 6'^ June
What? Why should the sdence budget be protected in the Spending Review
When? 9.30 Wednesday 5'^ June
Where? The Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Road, N W l 2BE
The Science Media Centre and CASE has assembled a cast ofthe Great and Good from the science world to share
their thoughts on the science budget in the run up to the Spending Review.
Speakers include:
Paul Nurse - President, Royal Society
lan Blatchford - Director, Science Museum
John Tooke - President, Academy of Medical Sciences
Robin Jackson - Chief Executive, British Academy
Shar Nebhrajani - Chief Executive, AMRC
Sir John Parker - RAENG and Anglo American
For more information please call Fiona Fox onl
230
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
Tel:
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.orE
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institufions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisafions and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
231
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
25 May 2013 10:30
Fiona Fox
Fwd: Science: Italian Parliament Orders Clinical Trial of Controversial Stem Cell
Treatment
This is so crazy!!!
http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/05/italian-parliament-orders-clinic.html?rss=l
Italian Parliament Orders Clinical Trial of Controversial Stem
Cell Treatment
by Laura Margottini on 22 May 2013, 4:35 PM i 0 Comments
ROME—A controversial Italian stem cell therapy that scientists say is unproven will undergo its first solid scientific
test. The Italian Senate today voted in favor of a new bill, already approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 16 May,
that sets aside €3 million for a clinical trial of the treatment, devised by the Stamina Foundation in Turin. Meanwhile,
the foundation can continue treating 12 patients at a hospital in Brescia who are already undergoing the disputed
therapy.
"This will probably be the first time that a pariiament orders a clinical trial," says Elena Cattaneo, director of UniStem
stem cell center at the University of Milan.
The merits of Stamina's treatments have long been under dispute in Italy. The foundation says that it has found a way
to transform a patient's own mesenchymal stem cells, derived from bone marrow, into newly minted nerve cells that
can be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.
But many stem cell scientists have dismissed those claims; the International Society for Stem Cell Research recently
said that there is no "compelling evidence from clinical trials that such cells provide benefit to patients with
neurological conditions."
Under existing Italian law, unproven stem cell therapies can be administered on a case-by-case basis to patients with
untreatable, severe illnesses who have no other options—but only if there are.enough published data on safety in
internationally recognized journals and if therapies are prepared by authorized hospital labs under the Italian rules for
the production of stem cells. Stamina has treated 12 patients at the Spedali Civili, a public hospital in Brescia, since
2011. But in 2012, the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) halted the treatments there after it had identified several
irregularities.
233
In March of this year, then-health minister Renato Baiduzzi—under severe pressure from patients—expressed his
support for the treatment and proposed a law to settle the controversy. The first version of his bill horrified scientists
because It provided that the treatment could be administered to thousands of patients, without any prior clinical trials,
and apparently outside the European Union's regulation for so-called advanced therapies.
Today, the Italian Senate gave its final green light to an amended bill that will allow Stamina to continue giving the
injections to patients whose treatment had already begun in Brescia; the foundation can't accept new patients,
however. In addition, AIFA, the Italian National Health Institute, and the National Italian Transplant Centre will lead a
€3 million clinical trial ofthe treatment. The law offers no specifics on the study's setup, or which disease it should
target; it does provide for the creation of a scientific board to design the trial.
Davide Vannoni, a psychologist at the University of Udine and the director of the Stamina Foundation, could not be
reached today for comment on the Senate vote. In an interview a few weeks ago, Vannoni told Sc/e/7celnsider that his
treatment is effective against a variety of neurodegenerative disorders and that it is based on in vitro and preclinical
studies published in Chinese scientific joumals; he did not provide copies of the papers, however. That's not
convincing, says Francesca Pasinelli, general manager of Telethon, an Italian nonprofit foundation forthe
advancement of research into genetic diseases. "The language of the international scientific community is EngHsh,"
she says, adding that even Chinese researchers use English if they seek international credibility.
On his Facebook page, Vannoni today said that his treatment cannot be prepared under intemational quality
standards known as Good Manufacturing Practice, as required by the new law, because this could hamper its
efficacy.
Cattaneo says that the trial is the result of Balduzzi's "original mistake" of supporting the therapy. "This is the. only
thing that could be done at this point," she says. Three million euros is a very large amount, Cattaneo says,
considering that stem cell research last received support at the national level in 2009, for only €8 million.
"It's a waste of money," says Massimo Dominici, a eel! biologist at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. But
he adds that the lack of regular support for stem cell research is part of the problem. "If the government would provide
enough research funding, we could translate research into [therapies] under scientific rules, rather than this way,"
Dominici says.
234
n
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
Tel:
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universifies, corporate organisafions and individuals fiind the Centre, with
donations capped at 5% ofthe nmning costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
235
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(gsciencemediacentre.org>
17 May 2013 14:30
Fiona Fox
Gurdian piece on not worshiping the Chiefs of Science
fyi
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/political-science/2013/mav/17/science-policvl
ChaUenge, don't worship, the chiefs and high
priestesses of science
Ifwe don't recognise the politics of science^ we will just get played by those who do.
•
Share 2
lO^hareO
SEmail
At the BSA Science Commimication conference this week, I was invited to speak about science poiicv.
under the title "All hail to the chief. Except, I think science involves way too much hailing already. I'm not
about to start bowing to Sir Mark Walport, just because he's the Govemment Chief Scientific Advisor.
Neither do I think we should worshiping Science Media Centre CEO, Fiona Fox as a "high priestess"
(Roger Highfield's rather telling nickname for her).
Science today, and the way we share it with the rest ofthe world, is based on layers upon layers of
deference. We spend our lives crawling up to senior scientists, and those who pay them, sitting and waiting
to be told what to think. We shouldn't be so complacent.
The Govemment Office of Science and Technology, the Science Media Centre, joumalists, museums,
school curricula and a host ofother systems for sharing science act as filters for scientific information,
choosing which is the most important and useful. This is what makes them so usefiil, but such choices are
always going to involve more than simply science and we need to recognise this.
We've been here before. It's the critique ofthe so-called "deficit model" many of us have been dancing to
for decades. The deficit model, ifyou're lucky enough not to have come across the term, assumes science
236
has the knowledge the public are deficient m, and that many of our social ills will be solved ifwe all
listened to the experts. It'd be a nice idea maybe if science, the media, policy or people were that simple, but
they're not (I talked about similar issues in my Radio Four piece on scientific literacy last year).
The deficit model sticks around partly because it feeds scientists' social status, implicitly underlining their
powerful position as people who get to define what coimts as important, true, reliable knowledge. Stephen
Hilgartner put it well back in 1990. saying such top dovm approaches unplicitly provide the scientific
establishment with the epistemological right to print money. Something we don't appreciate enough though
is that also serves the handmaidens ofthe deficit model - science communication professionals, less
powerful scientists, many science "fans" - offering them some social status by association. Play into a game
of hierarchies, and even ifyou don't get to the top, you get to climb a bit. Pierre Bourdieu, in his classic
sociology ofthe university campus. Homo Academicus, talks about the way students are happy to submit to
the idea that they are inferior to senior academics because doing so earns them subsequent admittance to a
distinguished club of graduates. I think we can see similar pattems at work in terms ofthe way academic
ideas are shared outside of universities too.
Less cynically, top down models also stick around because scientists do, genuinely, have special ideas and
information to share. We pool our resources to allow a few people to cut themselves off and become experts
in particular subjects. We do this so that they might feed back their knowledge and we can, collectively, try
to make a better world. We should listen to them. As David Dickson vyrote in 2005. factual reporting of
science can be socially empowering for audiences. It's worth remembering this. Political systems of
scientific advice in govemment are built partly for this reason too, to make best use of scientific expertise. I
don't want to throw the baby out with bathwater, and lazy critique of science is notjust silly, it can be
dangerous (if you've never read Merchants of Doubt, do).
But valuing expertise in society doesn't mean you have to unquestionably listen to those labelled as expert.
Earlier this week, George Monbiot neatly pulled out Mark Walport's suggestion that a prime function of his
role in govemment was to ensure science translates to economic growth. Firstly, is that really Walport's job?
Really? Secondly, even if it is, what kind of growth are we talking about? To serve which parts of society?
To go in what directions? Drawing on what resources? These are very serious questions with multiple
possible answers, many of which science will be a necessary, but insufficient part of We should be invited
to access, or at least view, these less than simply scientific decision-making process.
When I was looking into the Big Bang Fair last term, I leamt volunteers were briefed not to get pulled into
debating "politics" of arms dealing or the fossil fuel industry, lest it distracted from the science. I've since
heard similar briefings have been issued for science events running over the summer. It's also a line I heard
all too often when I worked at Imperial College.
It's bullshit. Simple bullshit. Politics doesn't distract from the science. An over-emphasis on
decontextualised science is used to distract from the politics.
It is often assumed science is somehow above political issues, but just because disinterestedness is an
aspiration doesn't mean it's tme in practise. It can be hard to spot ideologies you're part of, so decent public
engagement - which is honest about the uncertainties and arguments in science and actively invites
questioning - can help science uncover itself more clearly. This is vitally important, because ifyou don't
recognise how routinely political science is, you just get played by those who do.
Posted by
Alice Bell
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238
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
14 May 2013 08:23
Fiona Fox
Fwd: A new Bill to get animal research mentioned on labels of medicine- published today
Hi folks,
I thought some ofyou may be interested to hear that Professor Sir Robert Winston yesterday introduced a
Bill in the House of Lords to require a declaration relating to the use of animal research to be placed on
medicinal products labels. Previous attempts to do this some years ago failed and were opposed by many in
the Department of Health and pharmaceutical companies (concemed that a declaration on animal research
on labels may deter some patientsfi"omtaking medicines). But Robert Winston believes that the new mood
of openness on animal research within the scientific community and govemment (reflected in the
Declaration on Opeimess that was published at the SMC last October) that this is the right time to place this
issue back on the agenda. The Bill will be printed later today and I can send you the wording
The Bill is a standard Private Members' Bill and will reach its first debate sometime around June (2nd
Reading). Usually the Committee Stages are a couple of weeks later so it could spill over into the Autumn
session. Quite a number of members have already said that they support Lord Winston's Bill and want to speak.
Lord Winston said
"The Bill is designed to produce transparency, and to make it clear that it is virtually impossible to receive any
licensed pharmaceutical whether it be a sleeping pill, painkiller, fertility injection, cancer drug, or vaccination without
stringent tests using animals first There are a very few exceptions like aspirin, almost the only bne I can think of It is
designed to show the hypocrisy of those who try to pretend to unknowing members of the public that animal research
can be abandoned. It is designed to help the pharmaceutical companies to 'put their head above the parapet'. It is
also designed to show how rigorously animal research in the UK is regulated; more than any other jurisdiction. But
more than anything it is designed to re-open this debate.
Cheers
Fiona
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
Tel:'
E: fionafgi.sciencemediacentre.org
Web: www, sciencemediacentre .org
My blog: on science and the media
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture warking to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific commimity to the news media when science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charifies, universifies, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with
donations capped at 5% ofthe rimning costs to preserve its independence.
239
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
30 April 2013 19:26
Fiona Fox
Fwd: Guardian blog: Why Monbiot's attack on Walport misses the mark
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/political-science/2013/apr/30/science-policyl
Why Monbiot's attack on Walport misses the mark
Sir Mark Walport is no corporate stooge. The lesson to take from George Monbiot's broadside Is
to leave advocacy to advocates
Mark Walport, who took over as the UK govemment chief scienft'fic adviser on 1 April 2013. Photograph; Rex Features
George Monbiot pulled no punches in his piece yesterday on Sir Mark Walport. the
newly appointed UK government chief scientific adviser (GCSA). Responding to
Walport's recent Financial Times article on bees and neonicotinoid pesticides.
Monbiot accused him of writing a "concatenation of gibberish", and of deploying "the
kind of groundless moral blackmail frequently used by industry-funded astroturf
campaigns" He concluded that:
"Less than a month into the job, Sir Mark Walport has misinformed the public about
the scientific method, risk and uncertainty. He has made groundless, unscientific
and emotionally manipulative claims. He has indulged in scaremongering and wild
exaggeration in support ofthe government's position."
Do tell us how you really feel, George.
We don't want to rehearse here the details of the bees and pesticidescase. which
has been well covered elsewhere. And Monbiot is fair to criticise Walport for a rather
lazy caricature of the precautionary principle. But just four weeks into his new job, it
is unfair of Monbiot to write off Walport as a corporate stooge in search of a
peerage. What this episode highlights are a set of broader tensions and dilemmas in
241
the chief scientific adviser role, which Walport needs to bear in mind and address
more openly.
The GCSA has always occupied a netherworld in government. He has no ministry
to oversee, very little budget and a handful of staff. His authority rests in appeals to
expertise and evidence, and the perception of a degree of political independence.
Such authority is willingly accepted by the public, media and their representatives,
but can easily be lost.
Walport's misstep was not in backing the wrong course of action on bees (though
this made Monbiot froth) but in exhibiting a confusion about his role in policy. In
his FT piece. Walport concludes with this sound advice: 'The job of scientists Is to
undertake the scientific work and to advise politicians on science - and it is to them
that we must turn for the final decisions.'*
Such advice could be evidence-focused: for example, summarising the results of
studies that look at the relationship of pesticide application and its impacts on bees.
"Science arbitration" is regularty the province of carefully constructed committees of
experts who are vetted for biases and conflicts of interest. This is the bread and
butter of science advice and something that the UK government does very well,
typically out of the gaze of public and media scrutiny.
Such advice could also be options-focused in a manner that clarifies or even
expands the scope of choice available to decision makers. This is sometimes
termed "honest brokering". For instance, as Walport explains in relation to the EU
ban on pesticides, there will be costs and benefits (economic and environmental) on
both sides ofthe equation. He might have explained (but did not) that in such
situations the so-called precautionary principle offers little guidance, because "better
safe than sorry" depends entirely upon what it is that decision makers want to be
safe rather than sorry about. Concern over pesticide impacts on bees is of course
entirely legitimate, but so too is concern over the possible environmental impacts of
old-style pesticides that might come into re-use under a ban.
Science cannot resolve how to trade-off competing values. Making those trade-offs
is, as Walport observes, the job of politicians who are ultimately accountable under
democratic systems of governance. The source of Monbiot's fury appears to be his
concern that Walport backed a course of action that Monbiot himself does not
favour. We don't recall such ferocious attacks on Sir David King or Sir John
Beddington when they ventured into similar advocacy positions on climate policy.
Where Walport actually erred was in advocating how values trade-offs should be
made in the case of bees and pesticides: "The European Commission has proposed
a temporary ban on the use of certain agricultural pesticides. It should drop this
idea." Here Walport has stepped well beyond evaluating evidence, or clarifying
options, and slipped into the role of a political advocate, who seeks to secure one
particular outcome. Not coincidentaily, it is the outcome preferred by the
government for which he works.
242
Walport's decade at the head of the Wellcome Trust, where he tackled vested
Interests on open access, open data and other Issues, provides ample evidence that
he is no one's stooge. He has also made more nuanced arguments about
precaution and science advice elsewhere, including in his first maior speech on 18
April. He talked there repeatedly about the multiple lenses that form the "prism"
through which scientific advisers need to view complex and contested issues.
Mechanisms of science advice have evolved a great deal in the UK since the BSE
crisis in the 1990s, and it is misleading for Monbiot to suggest othenwise. One of the
biggest lessons from BSE was the need for greater openness In advisory
processes, and Walport needs to demonstrate such openness now by providing
greater clarity about his role. We would encourage a commitment to evaluating
evidence and clarifying options, but steering clear of political advocacy. The lesson
Walport should take from Monbiot's broadside is to leave the polemics to
polemicists and the advocacy to advocates.
Roger Pielke Jr is professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado,
author of The Honest Broker and on Twitter 0>RoaerPielkeJr. James WiJsdon is
professor of science and democracy at the University of Sussex, co-editor of Future
Directions for Scientific Advice in Whitehall, which is free to download here, and on
Twitter (Q)jameswiJsdon
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
Tel:
E: fiona(g),sciencemediacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
fionafox. bio gspot .com
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institufions, media groups, charifies, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with
donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independHice.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
243
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona{gsciencemed iace ntre. org >
30 April 2013 16:55
Fiona Fox
Better news - Obama Promises to Protect Peer Review in Salute to NAS
Obama Promises to Protect Peer Review in Salute to NAS
by David Malakoff on 29 April 2013, 5:15 PM| 2 Comments
President Barack Obama faces plenty of critics in Washington these days. But he found an appreciative
audience today at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), where he delivered a speech celebrating
the august body's 150th anniversary. In addition to touting his administration's support for research, Obama
took an oblique swipe at political adversaries in Congress who want to require the National Science
Foundation (NSF) and other funding agencies to adopt new grant funding criteria.
"[Wje've got to protect our rigorous peer review system and ensure that we only fund proposals that promise
the biggest bang for taxpayer dollars," Obama said. "And I will keep working to make sure that our
scientific research does not fall victim to political maneuvers or agendas that in some ways would impact on
the integrity ofthe scientific process."
The remarks appeared to address two legislative initiatives much on the minds ofthe audience. In one, first
reported yesterday by Sciencelnsider, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), the head ofthe House of
Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, is drafting legislation that would require
NSF to certify that research the agency funds meets three new criteria. It demands that the work advance the
"national health, prosperity, or welfare" ofthe United States, "is groundbreaking," and "is not duplicative"
of studies funded by another federal agency.
A Weekly Chat on the Hottest Topics in Science Thursdays 3 p.m. EDT
The other is a temporary prohibition, sponsored by Senator Tom Cobum (R-OK) and approved by Congress
last month, against NSF's funding any political science research unless the director certifies that the research
addresses economic or national security interests. Both lawmakers say that their efforts are intended to
ensure the best use of taxpayer dollars, but critics charge that they are trying to politicize the peer-review
process.
Obama also gave a shout-out to the social sciences, which have home the brunt of recent congressional
complaints. "[0]ne ofthe things that I've tried to do over these last 4 years and v«Il continue to do over the
next 4 years is to make sure that we are promoting the integrity of our scientific process," he said. "That not
just in the physical and life sciences, but also in fields like psychology and anthropology and economics and
political science—all of which are sciences because scholars develop and test hypotheses and subject them
to peer review—but in all the sciences, we've got to make sure that we are supporting the idea that they're
not subject to politics, that they're not skewed by an agenda, that, as I said before, we make sure that we go
where ttie evidence leads us. And that's why we've got to keep investmg in these sciences."
Politics ofthe day aside, Obama spent much of his speech extolling NAS for its role in advising the
govemment on tricky technical issues. "For 150 years, you've strived to answer big questions, solve tough
problems, not for yourselves but for the benefit ofthe nation," he told a crowd packed with many ofthe
most prominent members ofthe country's scientific establishment. "And that legacy has endured fi'om the
Academy's founding days."
"[MJore important than any single study or report, the members of this institution embody what is so
necessary for us to continue our scientific advance and to maintain our cutting-edge, and that's restless
curiosity and boundless hope, but also a fidelity to facts and tmth, and a willingness to follow where the
evidence leads," he said.
244
bbama also drew a number of laughs, especially when he noted that members of academy panels work for
free. "[Pjart of what's made the Academy so effective is that all the scientists elected to your elite ranks are
volunteers," he said. "Which is fortunate because we have no money anyway."
Today's speech was Obama's second at the NAS; he also addressed the group in 2009. NAS officials noted
that President John F. Kermedy marked NAS's 100th anniversary with a speech in 1963.
http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/04/obama-promises-to-protect-peer-r.html
Jttlia-AT-Moore
Director, Research, Govemment Performance Group
The Pew Charitable Tmsts
9 0 ^ S t r e e t ^ W , WashiiigtonDC20004
e: imoore(g),pewtmsts.org | www.PewHealth.org
245
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent: .
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(@sciencemediacentre.org>
30 April 2013 10:16
Fiona Fox
FW: George Monbiot article
Our new CSA coming under attack already - though I like to think you're no-one in science until you've been
attacked by George Monbiot ©
If anyone is interested in this particular issue do shout and I'll send you the rather more balanced round up we
issued yesterday
Cheers
Fiona
•
Comment is free
Beware the rise of the government scientists
turned lobbyists
From badgers to bees, govemment science advisers are routinely misleading us to support the politicians'
agendas
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George Monbiot
The Guardian. Monday 29 April 2013 20.30 BST
Jump to comments f308)
Sir Mark Walport, the British government's chief scientist, has denounced the proposalfor a temporary European
ban on the pesticides blamed for killing bees. Photograph: Julian Stratenschulte/EPA
What happens to people when they become govemment science advisers? Are their children taken hostage?
Is a dossier of compromising photographs kept, ready to send to the Sun if they step out of line?
246
I ask because, in too many cases, they soon begin to sound less like scientists than industrial lobbyists. The
mad cow crisis 20 years ago was exacerbated by the failure of govemment scientists to present the evidence
accurately. The chief medical officer wrongly claimed that there was "no risk associated with eating British
beef. The chief veterinary officer wrongly dismissed the research suggesting that BSE could jump from
one species to another.
The current chief scientist at the UK's environment department. Ian Bovd. is so desperate to justify the
impending badger cull - which defies the recommendations ofthe £49m studv the department funded - that
he now claims that eliminatuig badgers "may actually be positive to biodiversity", on the grounds that
badgers sometimes eat baby birds. That badgers are a component of our biodiversity, and play an important
role in regulating the populations of other species, appears to have eluded him.
But the worst example in the past 10 years was the concatenation of gibberish published by the British
govemment's new chief scientist on Fridav. In the Financial Tunes, Sir Mark Walport denounced the
proposal for a temporary European ban on the pesticides blamed for killing bees and other pollinators. He
claimed that "the consequences of such a moratorium could be harmfiil to the continent's crop production,
farming communities and consumers". This also happens to be the position ofthe UK govemment, to which
he is supposed to provide disinterested advice.
Walport's article was timed to influence Monday's vote by European member states, to suspend the use of
three neonicotinoid pesticides. The UK, fighting valiantly on behalf of the manufacturers Syngenta and
Bayer, did all it could to thwart the nations supporting this partial ban, but failed.
Here's how he justified his position. First he maintained that "there is no measurable harm to bee colonies
... when these pesticides have been applied on farms following official guidelines". This statement is
misleading and unscientific. The research required to support it does not exist.
The govemment carried out field trials which, it claimed, showed that "effects on bees do not occur under
normal circumstances". They showed nothing ofthe kind. As Professor Dave Goulson, one ofthe UK's
leading experts, explained to me, the experiment was hopelessly contaminated. The nests of bumblebees
which were meant to function as a pesticide-free control group were exposed to similar levels of
neonicotinoids as those in the experimental group. The govemment "might have been wise to abandon the
trial. However, instead they chose to 'publish' it by putting it on the intemet - not by sending it to a peerreviewed joumal. This is not how science proceeds."
What this illustrates is that these trials have taken place far too late: after the toxins have already been
widely deployed. The use of neonicotinoids across Europe was approved before we knew what their impacts
might be.
Experiments in laboratory or "semi-field" conditions, free from contamination, suggest that these toxins
could be a reason for the rapid reduction in bee populations. We still know aknost nothing about their
impacts on other insect pollinators, such as hoverflies, butterflies, moths, beetles and midges, many of
which are also declining swiftly.
Walport went on to suggest that the proposed ban would cause "severe reductions in yields to stmggling
European farmers and economies". Again, this is simply incorrect: in its exhaustive investigation, published
last month, the House of Commons environmental audit committee concluded that "neonicotinoid pesticides
are not fundamental to the general economic or agricultural viability of UK farming". In fact they can
prevent a more precise and rational use of pesticides, known as integrated pest management. The committee
reports that all the rape seed on sale in this country, for example, is pre-treated with neonicotinoids, so
fanners have no choice but to use them, whether or not they are required.
He then deployed the kind of groundless moral blackmail frequently used by industry-fianded astroturf
campaigns. "The control of malaria, dengue and other important diseases also depends on the control of
247
insect vectors." Yes, it does in many cases, but this has nothing to do with the issue he was discussing: a
partial ban on neonicotinoids in European crops. This old canard (ifyou don't approve this pesticide for
growing oilseed rape in Europe, children in Mozambique will die of malaria) reminds us that those opposed
to measures which protect the natural world are often far worse scaremongers than environmentalists can
be. How often have you heard people claim that "if the greens get their way, we'll go back to living in
caves" or "if carbon taxes are approved, the economy will collapse"?
But perhaps most revealing is Walport's misunderstanding ofthe precautionary principle. This, he says,
"just means working out and balancing in advance all the risks and benefits of action or inaction, and to
make a proportionate response". No it doesn't. The Rio declaration, signed by the UK and 171 other states,
defines it as follows: "Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific
certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental
degradation." This, as it happens, is the opposite of what his article sought to do. Yet an understanding of
the precautionary principle is fundamental to Walport's role.
Among the official duties ofthe chief scientist is "to ensure that the scientific method, risk and uncertainty
are understood by the public". Less than a month into the job. Sir Mark Walport has misinformed the public
about the scientific method, risk and uncertainty. He has made groundless, unscientific and emotionally
manipulative claims. He has indulged in scaremongering and wild exaggeration in support ofthe
govemment's position.
In defending science against political pressure, he is; in other words, as much use as a suit of paper armour.
For this reason, he'll doubtiess remain in post, and end his career with a peerage. The rest of us will carry
the cost of his preferment.
Twitter: (a),seoreemonbiot. A fully referenced version of this article can be found at Monbiot.com
248
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
30 April 2013 07:53
Fiona Fox
Fwd: 04/28/2013 SCIENCE INSIDER-U.S. Lawmaker Proposes New Criteria for
Choosing NSF Grants
Scary!!
U.S. Lawmaker Proposes New Criteria for Choosing NSF Grants
by Jeffrey Mervis on 28 April 2013, 3:48 PM
The new chair ofthe House of Representatives science committee has drafted a bill that, in effect, would
replace peer review at the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a set of funding criteria chosen by
Congress. For good measure, it would also set in motion a process to determine whether the same criteria
should be adopted by every other federal science agency.
The legislation, being worked up by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), represents the latest—and
bluntest—attack on NSF by congressional Republicans seeking to halt what they believe is fiivolous and
wasteful research being funded in the social sciences. Last month. Senator Tom Cobum (R-OK)
successfully attached language to a 2013 spending bill that prohibits NSF from fimding any political science
research for the rest ofthe fiscal year unless its director certifies that it pertains to economic development or
national security. Smith's draft bill, called the "High Quality Research Act," would apply similar language^
to NSF's entire research portfolio across all the discipUnes that it supports.
Sciencelnsider has obtained a copy ofthe legislation, labeled "Discussion Draft" and dated 18 April, which
has begun to circulate among members of Congress and science lobbyists. In effect, the proposed bill would
force NSF to adopt three criteria in judging every grant. Specifically, the draft would require the NSF
director to post on NSF's Web site, prior to any award, a declaration that certifies the research is:
1) "... in the interests ofthe United States to advance the national health, prosperity, or welfare, and to
secure the national defense by promoting the progress of science;
2) "... the finest quality, is groundbreaking, and answers questions or solves problems that are of utmost
importance to society at large; and
3) "... not duplicative of other research projects being funded by the Foundation or other Federal science
agencies."
249
NSF's current guidelines ask reviewers to consider the "intellectual merit" of a proposed research project as
well as its "broader impacts" on the scientific community and society.
Two weeks ago. Republicans on the science coinmittee took to task both John Holdren, the president's
science adviser, and Cora Marrett, the acting NSF director, during hearings on President Barack Obama's
proposed 2014 science budget. They read the titles of several grants, questioned the value ofthe research,
and asked both administration officials to defend NSF's decision to fund the work.
On Thursday, Smith sent a letter to Marrett asking for more information on five recent NSF grants. In
particular, he requested copies ofthe comments from each reviewer, as well as the notes ofthe NSF
program officer managing the awards.
In his letter, a copy of which Sciencelnsider obtained. Smith wrote: "I have concems regarding some grants
approved by the Foundation and how closely they adhere to NSF's 'intellectual merit' guideline." Today,
Smith told Sciencelnsider in a statement that "the proposals about which I have requested further
information do not seem to meet the high standards of most NSF funded projects."
Smith's request to NSF didn't sit well with the top Democrat on the science committee. Representative
Eddie Bemice Johnson (D-TX). On Friday, she sent a blistering missive to Smith questioning his judgment
and his motives.
"In the history of this committee, no chairman has ever put themselves forward as an expert in the science
that underlies specific grant proposals funded by NSF," Johnson wrote in a letter obtained by
Sciencelnsider. "I have never seen a chairman decide to go after specific grants simply because the
chairman does not believe them to be of high value."
In her letter, Johnson wams Smith that "the moment you compromise both the merit review process and the
basic research mission of NSF is the moment you undo everything that has enabled NSF to contribute so
profoundly to our national health, prosperity, and welfare." She asks him to "withdraw" his letter and offers
to work with him "to identify a less destmctive, but more effective, effort" to make sure NSF is meeting that
mission.
Smith's bill would require NSF's oversight body, the National Science Board, to monitor the director's
actions and issue a report in a year. It also asks Holdren's office to tell Congress how the principles laid
down in the legislation "may be implemented in other Federal science agencies."
250
http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/04/us-lawmaker-proposes-new-criteri-l.html?ref=hp
Julia A. Moore
Director, Research, Govemment Performance Group
The Pew Charitable Tmsts
901 E Street, NW, Washington DC 20004
e: imooreCg).pewtmsts.org | www.PewHealth.org
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
E: fionafSjsciencemediacentre.org
Web: ww^v.sciencemediacentre.org
fionafox.blogspot.com
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific conmiunity to the news media when science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supponers including scientific institufions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individualsfimdthe Centre, with
donations capped at 5% ofthe nmning costs to preserve its independaice.
Science Media CenUe is a registered charity (no. ! 140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no, 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
251
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected] iace ntre. org >
29 April 2013 10:16
All
Fwd: Animal Rights protest
FYI
Sent from my iPad
Begin forwarded message:
From: Chris Leaver <chris.leaver(S),plants.ox.ac.uk>
Date: 29 April 2013 10:10:17 BST
To: Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
Subject: Animal Rights protest
Dear friends, colleagues and everybody in support of biomedical and basic research,
on Saturday April 20, 2013, a research animal facility of the University of Milano and the National
Institute of Neurosciences got devastated by animal rights extremists. Mice requiring special care
were abducted and a large number of invaluable and long-term experiments to study neurological
diseases for which no cures exist such as Autism, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and others were destroyed
due to these senseless acts.
For more details see: http://www.nature.com/news/anlmal-nahts-activists-wreak-havoc-inmilan-laboratorv-1.12847 and the enclosed Press Release by the Basel Declaration Society.
In discussion with Prof. Francesco Clementi, a signatory ofthe Basel Declaration and renowned
pharmacologist whose research was devastated by the attack, we have decided to ask you to join us in
an intemational call for solidarity to strongly condemn these violent and extremist acts against
researchers and their animals.
Therefore, we now ask you to show your solidarity with the Italian colleagues, whose research has
been so badly hurt at this time. What happened in Milan, can happen anywhere anytime ifwe do not
stop it! In democratic societies, we can no longer accept extremist acts against researchers devoted to
basic and medical research, which is key to finding cures and/or better treatments for the many still
devastating and deadly diseases: We need to send a very strong message to the extremists, but also to
politicians, lawmakers and law enforcement officials that unfortunately do not always act forceful
enough to prevent and/or interfere with such extremist acts.
Our colleagues in Milano deserve your support as they are part of the large academic researcher
community that devotes enormous efforts and time, often at personal expense, to gain an
understanding ofthe disease mechanisms and find ways to interfere with or even cure them. Their
research is key to continue to improve health care for us, our children and the generations to come.
Therefore, we kindly ask you to please use the following weblink to show your solidarity - one minute
ofyour time will help to make the big difference - please just cmise to http://www.baseldeclaration.orq/catt-for-solidaritv/
and sign!
252
As we are a 100% grass-root organization, we critically depend on your forwarding this email to your
friends and colleagues and asking them to pledge their support as well. Simply ask them to go
to http://www.basel-declaration.ora/call-for-solidaritv/
and sign!
I would like to thank you for your support and forwarding this email to others!
Very best regards,
ROLF ZELLER_
Prof Rolf-ZellerPresident ofthe Basel Declaration Society Allschwilerplatz 1 Postfach
CH-4009 Basel
SWTTZERLAND
mail: zeller(g>basel-declaration.orq
SIGN THE BASEL DECLARATION AND JOIN ITS SOCIETY TO ENDORSE ETHICALLY
RESPONSIBLE ANIMAL RESEARCH: http://www.basel-declaration.orq
253
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C . SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
26 April 2013 15:05
[email protected]
My thoughts on the measles scare and media
Has the MMR debacle immunised the media against other
scare stories?
A s t h e m e a s l e s outbreak in south W a l e s s h o w s no s i g n o f abating, British n e w s p a p e r s m a y finally
be learning their lesson
o Fiona Fox
o quardian.co.uk. Friday 26 Aprii 2013 14.07 BST
o Jump to comments (0)
Not even Andrew Wakefield can be held responsible for the false impression given by the media that doctors were split over the
safety of the jab. Photograph: AFP/Getty
When Jeremy Paxman this week apologised to MMR experts on Newsnight for the
shameful role played by parts ofthe media in the MMR crisis, he joined a chorus
of soul searching over who is to blame for the ongoing measles outbreak and
whether an unfounded scare story with such far-reaching consequences would get
so much media attention today.
While many, like Paxman, blame the media for giving disproportionate coverage to
a small studv and a maverick doctor, others blame the government for bullying
parents into using the combined jab and demonising Wakefield.
Others will never forgive the Lancet. I was reminded of this whenquestioned on the
storv bv Lord Leveson (In the course of his inquiry into the practices ofthe British
press), who was keen to Impress on me that the media reported the claim only after
a respected peer-reviewed scientific journal had published it.
For my part I can think of few players In this saga who should not indulge in a little
critical self-reflection, but if I have to choose a culprit mine would be the media's
serious addiction to amplified debate and controversy in the name ofthe principle of
"journalistic balance". There is much to criticise Wakefield for, but not even he can
254
be held responsible for the completely false Impression that medical science was
split down the middle on the safety of the jab. Surveys show that is what the public
believed.
One senior BBC TV health reporter has told me about stand-up rows in the
newsroom over his opposition to the editors' diktat that every package about MMR
must feature Wakefield or his supporters alongside the mainstream view. Balanced
coverage works beautifully In politics and makes entertaining viewing but when
rigidly applied to science and public health it clashes with other journalistic
principles like truth-telling and accuracy.
But could It happen again? In some ways the outlook is rosy. Stung by criticism of
inaccurate reporting on stories like MMR, many editors now defer more to their
specialist science and health reporters, who were sidelined at the height ofthe
MMR frenzy. Like good specialists should, these journalists do battle with news
editors on a dally basis over what, where and how new studies are reported - and
whether they are covered at all.
Many rightly pride themselves on keeping bad science out of their newspaper just
as much as getting great science in. I think there is reason to believe that under
their watchful gaze extraordinary claims like those of Wakefield would not now
receive such prominence for so long. A few years ago, when a teenage girt died
suddenly shortly after receiving the HPV vaccine these journalists reported a
possible link while emphasizing the mountain of evidence on safety. When it was
discovered that there was no connection, they promptly and prominently reported
this, and I am probably one of the few who even remember this short-lived vaccine
scare.
The scientific community is also playing a dramatically different role now. When
Wakefield made his claim 13 years ago, far too many scientists and institutions
lambasted the media coverage in the same breath as refusing to speak to the
media. That thousands of research scientists are now" prepared to leave their ivory
towers to ensure that the media have access to their expertise at times like this will
help Immunise us against another MMR scare.
However, only a reckless optimist would claim this could never happen again. Just
as it took lots of actors to make the MMR debacle, so today the risk of another MMR
does not come from the press alone. When Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was
challenged by Leveson about an irresponsible cancer story, Dacre defended it by
pinning the biame on an overhyped press release. Scientific journals make me
nervous. When I heard that a respected, peer-reviewed toxicology journal had
published a study showing that GM food caused cancer in rats I prepared for the
biggest science story of the decade. Hours later it became clear that this study was
deeply flawed and, in the view of many scientists, should never have passed peer
review.
255
But it is the persistence of a certain culture and practice in newsrooms that worries
me most. The media's love affair with mavericks and outliers continues to leave
scientists in despair as they watch people with little or no expertise enjoying
disproportionate column inches and airtime on issues like climate change and child
development. And while some journalists have made great stndes In weaning
themselves off their addiction to overly simplistic "balance" others are finding it
harder to kick the habit.
Avoiding another MMR-style scare requires vigilance, which is why the Science
Media Centre got together with a group of science reporters, news editors and sub
editors to draft guidelines for good science reporting, which we submitted to
Leveson. They were recommended in his final report. Perhaps when we finally get
our new press regulator the guidelines will be adopted and we can collectively make
sure that the vaccine scare we all talk about continues to be MMR.
Robin Bisson
Science Information Officer
Science IVIedia Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2 i
Tel:
E: ro'bin(5)sciencemediacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.ore
©RobinBisson
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe
running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827} and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales.
256
Ksymena O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
24 April 2013 08:57
Fiona Fox
Fwd: Professor Jeremy Farrar named new Director of the Wellcome Trust
Exciting news
—
Forwarded message
From: Brierley, Craig-<[email protected]^
Date: 24 April 2013 08:47
Subject; Professor Jeremy Farrar named new Director ofthe Wellcome Tmst
To; "[email protected]" <fiona(a),sciencemediacentre.org>
Media release from the Wellcome Trust
For immediate release on Wednesday 24 April 2013
Professor Jeremy Farrar named new Director ofthe Wellcome Trust
The Board of Govemors ofthe Wellcome Tmst is pleased to announce the appointment today of Professor
Jeremy Farrar as the Tmst's new Director.
Professor Farrar is an outstanding clinical scientist who has built a reputation as one ofthe world's leading
figures in the field of infectious disease. He is currently Professor of Tropical Medicine and Global Health
at Oxford University, Global Scholar at Princeton University and Director ofthe Wellcome Trust's Major
Overseas Programme in Vietnam.
He will join the Wellcome Trust on 1 October, succeeding Sir Mark Walport, who stepped down at the end
of March to become the Govemment's Chief Scientific Adviser. Dr Ted Bianco, the Tmst's Director of
Technology Transfer, will continue to serve as Acting Director until then.
Sir William Castell, Chairman ofthe Wellcome Tmst, said: "The Board of Govemors is deUghted that
Jeremy Farrar has accepted our invitation to become the next Director ofthe Wellcome Tmst. Jeremy is one
ofthe foremost scientists of his generation, whose work - much of it funded by the Tmst ~ has contributed
to better understanding, surveillance, prevention and treatment of diseases including emerging infections,
influenza, tuberculosis, typhoid and dengue.
262
"He is also an inspirational leader whose vision has contributed to the rapid development ofthe Tmst's
Major Overseas Programme in South East Asia into a world-class centre for infectious disease research. We
are confident that we could not have found a better person to build on the exceptional work that Mark
Walport has overseen at the Trust over the past decade."
Professor Farrar said: "The Wellcome Tmst is one ofthe world's outstanding philanthropic institutions and
one ofthe UK's most remarkable national assets. It will be a privilege to lead an organisation that has
contributed so much to science, medicine and society, from the sequencing ofthe human genome, to the
development of today's front-line treatments for malaria and a commitment to public engagement with
science that is unparalleled.
"As a scientist who is grateful to have received Tmst funding for my own work, I know first-hand how its
flexible support makes such achievements possible. I am honoured to be given the challenge of helping its
talented staff and scientists to deliver further extraordinary advances in health."
Professor Farrar has been Director ofthe Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, which is
supported by the Wellcome Tmst and the Vietnam Govemment, since 1996. His research interests are in
infectious diseases and tropical health, and include emerging infections, infections ofthe central nervous
system, influenza, tuberculosis, dengue, typhoid and malaria. He has contributed to over 450 peer-reviewed
scientific papers, and serves on several World Health Organization advisory committees.
He was appointed OBE in 2005 for services to Tropical Medicine, and he has been awarded the Ho Chi
Minh Medal from the Govemment of Vietnam, the Oon Intemational Award for his work on H5N1 avian
flu, Frederick Murgatroyd Prize for Tropical Medicine by the Royal College Physicians and the Bailey
Ashford Award by the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He is a Fellow ofthe
Academy of Medical Sciences, and chairs the Intemational Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging
Infection Consortium, a global initiative to share data about emerging diseases that could become epidemics
or pandemics.
The Wellcome Tmst is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in
human and animal health. It does this by supporting the brightest minds in biomedical research and the
medical humanities, with charitable spending of around £650million a year.
The Trust is supported by an endowment of more than £14.5 billion (as of September 2012), which makes il
the third largest charitable foundation in the world. It has distributed more than £10 billion in charitable
spending since taking on its modem form in the mid-1980s.
Ends
263
Contact
Craig Brierley
Media Relations Manager
The Wellcome Tmst
T:+44 (0)20 7611.7329
M:+44 (0')7957 468218
E: [email protected]
Notes for editors
A selection of images of Professor Farrar is available to download at:
http://wi-downloads.wellcomeimages.org/ixbin/hixclient7id-3677cl389ec71e0259165e884Q33042c
An extended mterview with Professor Farrar was broadcast last year by BBC World Service in the
Exchanges at the Frontier series, run in collaboration with Wellcome Collection. It can be listened to here.
About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in
human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical
humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of
research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.
www.wellcome.ac.uk
The WeUcome Tmst was established in 1936 in the will of Sir Henry Wellcome, a pharmaceutical pioneer,
progressive industrialist, philanthropist and archaeologist. The Tmstees began work in 1937 with £73 048 in
the deposit account.
Between 1936 and 1986, the Wellcome Tmst was the sole owner ofthe Wellcome Foundation, Henry
Wellcome's dmg company. In 1986, however, the Tmst began floating shares in the Wellcome Foundation
and used the proceeds to diversify its assets. This has helped the Tmst grow to become one ofthe world's
largest charitable foundations, with assets of £14.5 biUion (September 2012).
264
The Tmst made its first awards in 1938 to Otto Loewi, who had been awarded the Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine in 1936 for his discovery of acetylcholine and its physiological actions, and to
Henry Foy and Athena Kondi for their work tackling malaria at the Wellcome Tmst Research Laboratories
in Thessaloniki, Greece. However, it was not until the mid-1980s that its spending became significant,
thanks to its share floatation.
From 1 October 1985 until the end of September 2012, the Tmst spent £10.1 billion. It now spends around
£650 million each year to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health and expects to
spend £3.5 billion over the next five years.
Examples ofthe WeUcome Tmst's notable achievements include:
The Wellcome Tmst Sanger Institute led the UK arm ofthe Human Genome Project - to decipher
the 'book of life' - and ensured all data from the project were made public.
Wellcome Tmst researchers in Thailand and Vietnam led the work on artemisinin derivatives that
enabled the introduction of artemisinin combination therapy, now the frontline treatment
recommended by the World Health Organization for uncomplicated malaria. Their work also led the
way for artesunate to be recommended by the WHO as first-line treatment in the management of
severe falciparum malaria in African children, who are the most affected victims of this parasite in
the world, as well as for severe malaria in all patients in low transmission areas.
Key discoveries from the Cancer Genome Project have led to breakthroughs in how cancers such as
malignant melanomas are treated.
Researchers at the University of Oxford pioneered the use of a 'talking therapy' for bulimia nervosa,
a severe eating disorder. This was the first psychological intervention to be recognised by the
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as the leading treatment for a clmical
condition and recommended for use in the NHS.
WeUcome Trust funding enabled the research that developed the techniques leading to the first ever
successful transplant of a larynx, trachea and thyroid in 2010, enabling a Califomian woman to
speak for the first time in 11 years.
WeUcome Collection, the free visitor destination for the incurably curious, opened in London in
2007, exploring the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. It
welcomes more than 400 000 visitors a year to its critically acclaimed exhibitions and collections,
lively public events, conference centre and the world-renowned Wellcome Library. Its
overwhelming success has led to a major planned development project to transform its spaces.
This message has been scarmed for vimses by BlackSpider MailControl
265
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
Te|:
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
fionafox.blogspot.com
The Science Metiia Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and viewsfromthe scientific community to the news media vAien science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Cenlre, with
donations cappe(J at 5% ofthe nmning costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales,
266
Ksymena O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
22 April 2013 09:54
a ll{@sciencemed iacentre.org
FW: More Government support for research and innovation needed to drive UK growth
and prosperity
fyi
From: Hartnett,-Bill rmailto:[email protected]
Sent: 22 April 2013 09:47
Subject: More Government support for research and innovation needed to drive UK growth and prosperity
„
The Academy of
IgM^CADEMY
Medical Sciences
/»t*^ ^,-^wi..>, »,* u^^ ^ r ,
I J
AGJDEMVOF^^
RgYA t . ^
^
For immediate release 22 April 2013
M o r e Government support for research and innovation needed t o drive UK g r o w t h and prosperity
The Presidents ofthe four UK National Academies have called on Government to guarantee a stable investment
framework for research and innovation over the next ten years. It is vital to increase investment in research to
ensure that other countries do not overtake the UK in innovation.
The statement demonstrates how research and innovation has played a vital part in the UK economy. The four
Presidents are now calling for an innovation revolution to help escape our present economic troubles.
Innovation was responsible for nearly two thirds of the UK's economic growth prior to the recession in 2009. In
years to come, research will play an even more crucial role in our knowledge driven economy.Our current research
strength must not be taken for granted. The academies recommend: building a stable ten year investment
framework that sits at the heart of the Government's plans for growth; maximising the value of research funding;
and ensuring that research remains at the heart of evidence-based policy making across Whitehall.
The Academies strongly support the ringfencing ofthe science budget, and urge the Government to guarantee
increased investment in research capital in future funding decisions, emphasising the importance of maintaining a
diverse research base across all disciplines to help tackle major national and international challenges.
Professor Sir John Tooke PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: "Building a knowledge
economy in the UK will drive growth and provide clear benefits for individuals and society at large. Every £1 increase
in public funding f o r medical research stimulates up to £5 of investment into research by the pharmaceutical
industry. The UK is responsiblefor 14% ofthe top 100 medicines in use today, second only to the USA. We must stay
at the cutting edge of research to reap the financial and social rewards of its translation."
267
Sir Paul Nurse, President ofthe Royal Society said: "Both the public and private sectors under invest in research in
the UK, compared to the majority of our economic competitors. The Government has shown that it knows the value
of research to a long term sustainable economic recovery based on innovation - they just now need to show the
courage of their convictions."
Professor Sir Adam Roberts, President ofthe British Academy, said: "We should never take an exclusively
instrumental view of research, but at a time when the UK is looking for economic growth, research on a wide range
of subjects is vital. And to tackle the big challenges of this century-from ageing populations to climate change - we
n&ed to toke advantage of expertise along the whole waterfront: the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences,
medicine and engineering."
Sir John Parker GBE FREng, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: "Growing the knowledge base
through research is crucial for acceleratirig innovation, spinning out new companies and driving exportable, global
technical leadership. Innovation - based on great research - is the key to economic revival and recovery and we are
well placed to achieve this. Britain is among the world's top ten manufacturing nations, renowned for high-valueadded industries like aerospace, life sciences and creative design. With the right strategic investment we con improve
on this position."
The full statement can be seen at http://rovalsocietv.org/policv/pufalications/20l3/fuelling-prosperitv/
-ENDSFor further information, please contact:
Bill Hartnett - bi I l.hartnettfgirovatsoci etv.org. 020 7451 2516
Nick Hillier - Nick.HillierOacmedsci.ac.uk, 020 3176 2154
Jane Sutton - iane.sutton(5)raeng.org.uk. 020 7766 0636
Kate Rosser-Frost - k.rosserfrostf5)britac.ac.uk. 020 7969 5263
Notes f o r Editors
The Academy of Medical Sciences
The Academy of Medical Sciences is the independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science.
Our mission is to promote medical science and its translation into benefits for society. The Academy's elected
Fellows are the United Kingdom's leading medical scientists from hospitals, academia, industry and the public
service.
For more information, please visit acmedsci.ac.uk
The Royal Society
The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many ofthe world's most distinguished scientists drawn from all
areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society's fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding Charters of
the 1660s, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use
of science for the benefit of humanity. The Society's strategic priorities are:
•
•
•
•
•
Promoting science and its benefits
Recognising excellence in science
Supporting outstanding science
Providing scientific advice for policy
Fostering international and global cooperation
268
•
Education and public engagement
For more information, please visit rovalsocietv.org
The British Academy
The British Academy for the humanities and social sciences. Established by Royal Charter in 1902. Its purpose is to
inspire, recognise and support excellence and high achievement in the humanities and social sciences, throughout
the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.
For more information, please visit britac.ac.uk
The Royal Academy of Engineering
As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from
across the engineering sectors for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. The
Academy's activities are driven by four strategic challenges:
• Drive faster and more balanced economic growrth
• Foster better education and skills
• Lead the profession
• Promote engineering at the heart of society
For more information, please visit raene.org.uk
Bfll-Hartnett
Head of Media Relations
T + 4 4 Z0 7451 2 5 1 6 "
M +44 ^m^H^JIJ^BP
Duty press officer +44 7931 423323
The Royal Society
6-9 Carlton House Terrace
London SWIY SAG
royalsociety.ord
Registered Charity No 207043
This email i? 5^;ii on L^chalfofThe Royal Society, 6-9 Caiiion House Terrace. London SWIY 5AG. Unit^ Kingdom,
You should i'iiTTy oul vour own vims check tx^lore opening any attachment. The Royal Society accqits no liabilil)' for any ioss or damage which may be caused b\- soltware
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269
From: Fiona Fox [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Sunday. April 14, 2013 09:02 AM
To: Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
Subject: Sunday Times piece
Hi Folks.
I think some of you wee aware this piece was coming out in the Sunday Times today. 1 don't think it's very
likely to be followed up but if any of you want to send me some brief comments by way of reaction i think it
would be useful to have them ready. Or maybe some of you would like to leave a comment online?
Cheers
Fiona
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Science/article1245301.ece
Inquiry into 'abuse' of lab rats at college Marie Woolf and Seth Jacobson Updated: 2 hours ago
* Comment (0)
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* Print<http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Science/article1245301 .ece#>
Campaigners obtained film of rats being mistreated
272
ONE of Britain's most respected research establishments has ordered an urgent inquiry after claims that its
staff breached welfare standards by mistreating laboratory animals.
Footage secured by an animal care technician worthing undercover at Imperial College London for the
British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) appears to show rats being decapitated with a
guillotine and moving during operations. Rodents are also heard squealing as parts of their ears are cut off
with scissors for biopsies.
Researchers at the university, which came 8th in the Times Higher Education Worid University Rankings
for 2012-13, are heard confessing ignorance about what the mles permitted them to do and technical
issues such as how much pain relief to give the animals.
One researcher, who is seen carrying out operations on two animals in different parts of a room at the
same time, explains how a mouse had to be put down after she accidentally left a clamp inside its stomach.
She also says that another mouse had been "wriggling around" during surgery.
Another researcher is heard claiming to have killed live baby rats by chopping off their heads with scissors.
The footage was recorded between May and November last year by a veterinary nurse who had been
recruited by the BUAV to secure a job at the laboratory.
Imperial announced last October that it was one of a number of organisations, including charities, drug
companies and universities, that had signed a declaration to be more open about research using animals.
It said the move was in response to a government-commissioned poll that revealed public support for
scientific research involving animals had dropped by 10% since 2010.
Footage from the hidden camera, however, shows scenes where animals are moving and lifting their heads
during surgery. In addition, a rat that is supposed to have been made unconscious with gas is seen rolling
its eyes as a technician attempts to break its neck using what appears to be a metal identification card
holder removed from a cage.
In another, a rat is put down two days after undergoing a gastric bypass operation during which its large
bowel was left detached. The animal was "lethargic and immobile" when it was finally destroyed.
Some of the killings take place in the presence of other animals and with the blare of music from a radio in
the background.
According to Imperial's own guidelines, animals should be killed quietly, not in the presence of other
animals and only by "experienced and competent personnel".
Some of those working in the laboratory and caught on camera are apparently unaware of strict Home
Office licence conditions on the degree to which an animal can suffer and at what point the distress must
be stopped.
Some staff even observe that, were Home Office officials aware of what was happening, action would have
been taken. Animal welfare officers wori<ing in the laboratory are heard expressing concem about the level
of suffering inflicted on mice and rats.
After a group of mice that had been injected and irradiated are found dead in their cages, one animal
welfare officer says: "She's exceeded her project licence. She's actually violating their project licence by
them dying on her."
A second person is heard saying: "This is what she does all the time."
The welfare officer replies: "The thing is, if the Home Office had seen it, that would have been the end of
the project licence probably."
273
In October last year, the camera catches the moment when a group of mice, which had been so badly
shaved that chunks of their skin had been removed and sores had developed, are discovered in a
distressed state.
"I'm so disgusted. These poor mice," an animal welfare officer is heard to say. "If the Home Office was in
[the laboratory], we would have been screwed if they saw those mice."
After being confronted with the allegations, Imperial last week announced an independent investigation to
be led by Steve Brown, director of the Medical Research Council's mammalian genetics unit.
Imperial said it had contacted all staff members who hold Home Office licences to conduct experiments on
animals to remind them of its policy on animal welfare and their personal responsibilities. It has also
informed the Home Offtce about the claims and said it would work closely with officials there.
The university said: "Imperial College's policy on the use of animals in research is that animals may only be
used in research programmes where their use is shown to be essential.
"Scientists and staff at Imperial work hard to ensure that animals are kept and cared for using the highest
standards of husbandry, thereby causing least pain and distress."
Michelle Thew, chief executive of the BUAV, said its dossier would be sent to the Home Office. She called
for a full inquiry independent ofthe animal research industry. She added: "Our investigation has shown the
terrible suffering of animals in a supposedly leading UK university.
"The animals were viewed as dispensable tools of research and their welfare relegated far below the
demands of research, financial considerations and staff convenience.
"Despite repeated claims by the government and research industry that the UK has a strong regulation
system, this BUAV investigation shows, yet again, that the reality is very different, and thaf standards are
often poor with numerous breaches of the law and totally inadequate enforcement by the Home Office."
The Home Office said: "We are determined to ensure animal research is carried out humanely and only
when necessary. Any reports suggesting that individuals or establishments are falling short of the high
standards set by our regulations are taken extremely seriously."
'Minimum' suffering
All testing on animals must be licensed by the Home Office.
Under Home Office rules, no animal test can be conducted if there is an alternative research technique.
The expected benefits must outweigh possible adverse effects.
Both the research institution conducting the test and the person conducting the experiment must be
licensed — as well as the project itself There are 15,403 licensed animal researchers in the UK.
Each lab must have on-site vets and animal welfare officers who check animals are being humanely
treated. Suffering must be kept to a minimum at all times.
Licences — graded "mild", "moderate" and "substantial", according to the expectation of the severity of
suffering that animals may be subjected to — also specify the point at which the animal must be killed
because the suffering is considered too great.
They should be killed quickly and humanely by a competent person, according to the law.
In 2011, 3.7m animals in the UK were used in experiments, over a million more procedures than in 2000.
Rats had 271,535 experiments conducted on them, and 2.68m experiments involved mice.
Watch the harrowing video and read the BUAV report at http://www.buav.org/
274
* Comment (0)
<http://www.thesundaytimes.co.Uk/sto/news/uk_news/Science/article1245301.ece#commentsStart>
* Print<http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Science/article1245301.ece#>
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NWl 2BE
Tel:'^
E: [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org<http;//www.sciencemediacentre.org/>
fionafox. blogspot.com<http://fionafox.blogspot.com>
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views
from the scientific community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters
including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals
fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no.
7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
275
1
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
11 April 2013 12:08
Fiona Fox
FW: One more comment on Bob Edwards
Had to send you this one - great commenti
From: Fiona Fox [mallto:fiona(5isciencemediacentre.ora1
Sent: 11 April 2013 11:46
To: all(g)sciencemedlacentre.orQ
Subject: One more comment on Bob Edwards
I know i f s too late but I like it so thought I would send©
Science Media Centre Round-Up
For immediate release l l " * April 2013
Expert reaction to deatii of IVF pioneer Bob Edwards
Sir Richard Gardner, Edward Penley Abraham Research Professor of the Royal Society, said:
"When attempting to solicit more appropriate recognition for Bob from people of authority in UK science, I was all
too often confronted with the unhelpful response that he was 'controversial'. This made me wish to grab their collar
and shake them for not having the wit to appreciate that no one who achieved what he had in the climate that then
prevailed could possibly have been otherwise."
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
Tel:^
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
httn://fionafox.blogspot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scieritific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific instrtihions, media groups, charities, unh/ersities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
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Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
289
I<symena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
10 April 2013 17:03
Fiona Fox
Final list of comments on Bob Edwards
I gather from my colleagues there is a tongue in cheek twitter campaign to get him a state funeral I
Cheers
Fiona
Science Media Centre Round-Up (version 6)
For immediate release 10*^ April 2013
Expert reaction to death of IVF pioneer Bob Edwards
Professor Simon Fishel, CARE Fertility, Nottingham, said:
"Bob. A great mentor, friend, and a true pioneer, battiing against all - you knew you could change infertility treatment
when those all around were against you. Few will ever understand how hard it was to see his vision realised. The
Nobel Prize was a fitting tribute to his work but the millions of children bom from IVF are his lasting legacy"
Professor Colin Blakemore, School of Advanced Study, University of London, said:
"I had the privilege of getting to know and admire Bob when I was starting my own career in science. His unbounded
and infectious enthusiasm for his research, despite huge technical obstacles and the scepticism of many of his
colleagues, was an inspiration. He was driven not only by confidence in his ability to overcome the technical
difficulties but also by his understanding ofthe distress that infertility can cause. The Nobel Prize was long in
coming: thank goodness it wasn't too late."
Professor Usa Jardine, Chair of the HFEA, said;
"It is with great sadness that we have heard about the death of Professor Sir Robert Edwards.
Many thousands of families have benefited directly from IVF since the birth of Louise Brown in 1978. However,
fertility treatment was not always as readily accepted as it is today and had it not been for Bob's scientific
innovation and his passionate commitment to ensuring the technology was made available to all those who needed
it, many parents would have been left childless.
, Few scientists can say that their work has impacted on mankind in such a meaningful way. He was an exceptional
man whose compassion and tenacity will be dearly missed."
Dr David Lynn, Director of Policy, Wellcome Trust:
290
"Few scientists can have contributed so much to the sum of human happiness as Bob Edwards, whose pioneering
work with Patrick Steptoe has allowed millions of couples affected by infertility to start families. British science
continues to build today on the worid leadership in reproductive technology which he established, through research
such as Newcastle Universit/s IVF techniques for preventing transmission of mitochondrial disease."
Martin Johnson, Professor Of Reproductive Sciences at University of Cambridge, said:
^'Robert Geoffrey Edwards, or "Bob" as his colleagues and friends knew him, is one of the true giants of the 20th
Century. A modest, affable, argumentative and generous Yorkshireman, the farsightedness, energy, determination
and rigour he brought to the study of human reproduction led to the most significant advance in the history of
infertility treatment, for which in 2010 he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. As well as being an
experimentalist and keeping abreast ofthe scientific literature in such diverse fields as immunology, embryology,
genetics and endocrinology, he was also a prolific writer and a pioneering promoter of the public awareness of
science and of its role in overcoming infertility and genetic disease, both sources of much human anguish. Early and
continuing ethical challenges to his work also prompted Bob to think and publish widely about reproductive
bioethics - a subject of which he is truly a father figure. Bob also drove the foundation of the European Society for
Human Reproduction and Embryology and its journals, which he edited for many years, and then in 2000 he set up a
new e-journal. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, with emphasis on rapid publication and the airing of controversies.
His almost inexhaustible energy, combined with a passionate belief in humanity, socialism and the commonsense of
people, meant he also found time to engage in local politics. Indeed, I am sure that it is a source of gentle pleasure
for him that he outlived Margaret Thatcher - born in the same year as him - by 48 hours! "
Anna Veiga, chairman of ESHRE, said:
"Bob was a tireless and inspirational leader in reproductive medicine, and it's fair to say that the infertility
treatments we have today would not have been developed without his direction. It was also Bob who laid down the
statutes which govern ESHRE's organisation and define its constitution today. We will remember him for many
reasons, but mostly for his sympathetic ear, his constant encouragement and of course his remarkable
achievements in human biology. Without Bob's scientific foresight and care for the infertile couple, the treatments
of assisted reproduction would never have gained the universal acceptance they have today."
Sarah Norcross, Director, Progress Educational Trust, said
'We were greatly saddened to hear of Professor Sir Robert Edwards' death, and yet glad that he lived to see his work
receive long overdue recognition, in the form of his 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Bob Edwards made
an outstanding contribution to assisted conception, working with Dr Patrick Steptoe and Jean Purdy to pioneer IVF
techniques which resulted in the birth of Louise Brown and led to more than five million IVF babies being born
woridwide. Those who owe the existence of their children or indeed were born thanks to IVF will mourn Bob's
passing.'
Professor Peter Braude, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Kings College London, said:
'Tew biologists have so positively and practically impacted on humankind. Bob's boundless energy, his innovative
ideas, and his resilience despite the relentless criticism by naysayers, changed the lives of millions of ordinary people
who now rejoice in the gift of their own child. He leaves the world a much better place."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
291
^
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 76118300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www, sciencemediacen tre.org, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at smc0}sciencemediacentre.orq
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
W e b : www.sciencemediacentre.Qr^
http://fionafox.bloespot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters tncluding scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and indh/iduals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
292
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected](encemediacentre.org>
10 April 2013 14:41
Fiona Fox
More on Bob Edwards
Hi Folks - anyone else want to comment on this? or do interviews?
Science Media Centre Round-Up (version 2)
For immediate release lO"* April 2013
Expert reaction to death of IVF pioneer Bob Edwards*
Sarah Norcross, Director, Progress Educational Trust, said
'We were greatly saddened to hear of Professor Sir Robert Edwards' death, and yet glad that he lived to see his work
receive long overdue recognition, in the form of his 2010 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Bob Edwards made
an outstanding contribution to assisted conception, working with Dr Patrick Steptoe and Jean Purdy to pioneer IVF
techniques which resulted in the birth of Louise Brown and led to more than five million IVF babies being born
woridwide. Those who owe the existence of their children or indeed were born thanks to IVF will mourn Bob's
passing.'
Professor Peter Braude, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Kings College London, said:
"Few biologists have so positively and practically impacted on humankind. Bob's boundless energy, his innovative
ideas, and his resilience despite the relentless criticism by naysayers, changed the lives of millions of ordinary people
who now rejoice in the gift of their own child. He leaves the worid a much better place."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 7611 8300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.orQ, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at [email protected]
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
293
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
http://fionafox.blogspot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture .working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, unh/ersities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at S% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
294
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
28 March 2013 14:56
Fiona Fox
FW: Scientists react angrily to Italian stem cell therapy decision
Just fyi....
Science Media Centre Round-Up
For immediate release 28^ March 2013
Expert reaction to decree from the Italian Government that overrides
regulators to make an unproven stem cell therapy available in public
hospitals.'^
Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, Director of the University of Edinburgh's MRC Centre for Regenerative
IVIedlclne, said:
"These unproven and ill-prepared stem cell therapies, for which there is no scientific basis, will do nothing for
patients and their families except make them poorer. For a European country that is home to some of the worid's
finest and most rigorous stem cell biologists to approve such an approach sends a confused and counterproductive
message to the world community."
Professor Austin Smith, Director of the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Cambridge Stem Cell institute,
said:
"This situation highlights the need for proper understanding of the scientific process and especially of the
requirement for evidence. If politicians, doctors or patient organisations ignore the facts, they may unwittingly
become party to exploitation of the most vulnerable members of society by approving meaningless 'treatments'."
Professor Steve Dunnett, Co-director of the Brain Repair group in the School of Biosciences, University of Cardiff,
said:
"Many novel and unproven stem cell therapies involve significant risk and very high cost while offering no
detectable benefit for desperate patients and their families threatened with life changing illnesses. As a scientist it is
natural to be cautious. However our government has a responsibility to protect all citizens from unsubstantiated
marketing of therapies of no demonstrated value, and has a particular duty to protect vulnerable patients from
being conned outof their savings for treatments that have no realistic hope of benefit, undemonstrated safety and
potential significant risk. European law, directions and regulation provide a well-established framework for
determining the safety and efficacy of new treatments, including lowering the bar for novel treatments for orphan
or life threatening diseases. However, when companies such as this latest example rely on personal claims of
benefit, but withhold access to any scientific assessment, and never publish their results on mechanisms, safety or
efficacy in the properly reviewed scientific literature according to widely accepted scientific criteria, then our
starting position has to be that the marketing is a scam to which the correct response should indeed be to refuse a
licence, and certainly not pay for a spurious 'treatment' out of the public purse. The decision of the Italian minister
to ride roughshod over existing European licencing criteria, which have been establish for very sound reasons both
of health and safety and of protecting patients from blatant fraud, set a dangerous precedent, perpetuating false
hopes but with considerable potential to cause real harm and distress for no actual benefit."
298
Professor Roger Barker, Professor of Clinical Neuroscience a t t h e University of Cambridge, said:
"The use o f unproven stem cells therapies for patients w i t h incurable neurological diseases causes concerns at t w o
levels. One is the exploitation of desperate patients and families seeking cures for diseases that sadly do not have
one at the moment.
"The other is that a complication or death w i t h this type o f therapy would run the risk o f essentially bringing t o a
stop all stem cell therapies for neurological disorders and this would include some of the more promising therapies
that have a strong scientific rationale for working in patients w i t h certain types of disorders such as Parkinson's
disease."
Professor Michele De Luca, Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of M o d e n a , Italy, said:
"Not only is there no evidence that mesenchymal stromal cells (the cells used by Stamina Foundation) can cure all
those diseases, there is no rationale for this and no evidence that these procedures are not dangerous for patients.
The way things are being authorized is simply illegal. These decisions conflict w i t h European and Italian regulations
and laws on advanced therapies and clinical trials. This creates a dangerous precedent. Anyone could avoid using
evidence-based medicine procedures and regulations by doing what the Stamina Foundation has done - using t h e
media and patients' hopes t o exert pressure. And English, German, French and other patients could start a sort o f
medical tourism and ask Stamina t o provide them with such unproven therapies."
'http://www.eurostemcell.org/storv/scientists-raise-alarm-italian-government-rules-unproven-stem-cell-therapv
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 76118300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.ora, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at smc^sciencemediacentre.ora
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company (imited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and.Wales
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
299
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
http://fionafox.blogspot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997]. Registered in England and Wales.
300
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
27 March 2013 12:35
Fiona Fox
Guardian 'in praise of..' editorial
This is nice ©
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/26/in-praise-of-lohn-beddington
In praise of... John Beddington
The chief scientific adviser to the government has trodden a thin line with grace
•
•
•
Editorial
The Guardian. Tuesday 26 March 2013 23.30 GMT
Jump toromments{17)
Politics may not be the enemy of scientific method, but they are hardly intimate
friends. Science inches along by experiment, evidence and testing (and retesting);
politics is often about bold moves executed on personal judgment. So the chief
scientific adviser to the government has his or her work cut out. But John
Beddington, who has held the post since 2008 and retires this month, has trodden a
thin line with grace. Three crises broke on his watch - the Icelandic volcano
eruptions, Fukushima and ash dieback disease - and In each he showed a useful
caution: compare the political hysteria over Fukushima in Germany with the calm
that prevailed here. Mr Beddington has also been an advocate for science, by
spearheading the push to install a chief scientist in each Whitehall department. And
in raising the alarm about "a perfect storm" of rising population, falling energy
resources and food shortages, he did the right and brave thing.
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters induding scientific institutions, media
groups, chanties, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales.
301
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
22 March 2013 10:47
Fiona Fox
FW: Guardian - more AstraZeneca job cuts
More bad news from AZ
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/mar/21/astrazeneca-cuts-sales-administration-iobs
AstraZeneca cuts 2,300 sales and administration jobs
Latest j o b losses c o m e just three d a y s after drug c o m p a n y a x e d 1,600 r e s e a r c h a n d d e v e l o p m e n t
roles
•
•
•
Rupert Neate
Quardian.co.uk. Thursday 21 March 2013 09.43 GMT
Jump to comments (14)
AstraZeneca chief Pascal Soriot said the cuts were part of his 'unambiguous commitment... [to] focus, accelerate and transform"
the business. Photograph: Reuters
AstraZeneca has announced 2,300 sales and administration job cuts just three days
after slashing 1.600 research and development roles. It takes total iob losses at the
British drug company over the past 13 months to more than 11,000.
As Astra's new chief executive announced the latest job cuts he praised his staffs
"talent, determination and focus to deliver for patients as well as shareholders".
Pascal Soriot said the move was part ofthe company's "unambiguous commitment"
to "focus, accelerate and transform our business". The cuts will cost the company
$2.3bn (£1.5bn) in restructuring charges.
The company, which employs 51,700 staff worldwide, declined to say how many
jobs will be lost among its 6,700 British workforce.
302
UK staff were the worst hit in cutbacks announced on Monday, comprising 700 of
1,600 job losses as the company consolidates its research and development
facilities.
Those cuts will be felt hardest in George Osborne's Tatton constituency, where 550
Astra staff will lose their jobs and another 1,600 employees have been told to
relocate.
Those cuts are part of Astra's decision to close its historic Alderley Park R&D facility
in Cheshire and relocate its research headquarters to Cambridge.
More than 7% of Osborne's employed constituents, including, he says, "some ofthe
world's most skilled and experienced science professionals", work at Alderley Park.
The chancellor is also likely to face questions about the £5m grant the government
gave Astra to develop the site into a "bioscience cluster" just five months ago.
When Astra was given the grant by the regional growth fund in October, the
company said it was "grateful" for Osborne's support in securing the money. Dr
Chris Doherty, project leader for Alderley Park, said: "A number of people have
been working hard behind the scenes to get us to this stage. In particular, we are
grateful for the support of the Right Honourable George Osborne."
Doherty said Astra was "very excited about the potential of this initiative and the
prospects for a dynamic science cluster in the north west".
Osborne did not respond to requests for comment about his role in securing the
grant. The chancellor said the job cuts were "obviously very difficult news for people
directly affected by the decisions around Alderley Park".
"I have worked hard with AstraZeneca over the last few weeks to make sure that a
substantial number of jobs are kept there and will work closely with Cheshire East
council and the government taskforce we are creating to bring new companies to
the site," he said. "We are all determined that Alderley Park shall remain a success
story and at the heart of our local community."
A spokeswoman for Astra said the funding was "on hold".
303
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
20 March 2013 16:15
Fiona Fox
Fwd: Times - Ri saved
FYI
Sent from my iPad
Begin forwarded message:
From: Selina Hawkins <selina(5)sciencemediacentre.org>
Date: 20 March 2013 10:13:05 GMT
To: All <[email protected]>
Subject: Times - Ri saved
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/science/article3717891.ece
Mystery £4.4111 donation saves home of
science
i i ^ w | p ^ " ' " V V ^ _,T-?:r^^p^:sr'^-t?.?f . ■ i r r . y ^ y ^ ".^-^
_< ,v^j a i i = i - - — i - . ; - , . - ! i - • j -
The Royal Institution's home Thomas Hosmer Shepherd
Hannah Devlin Sdence Editor
Published at 12:01AM, March 20 2013
An anonymous iith-hour donation of £4,4 million has avoided the sale ofthe Royal
Institution's headquarters, one of Britain's oldest scientific establishments, it announced
yesterday.
304
The endowment was received after a group of eminent scientists and broadcasters
mounted a campaign to save the building, which houses the laboratory where Michael
Faraday first demonstrated the power of electricity nearly two centuries ago.
Sir Richard Sykes, chairman ofthe Royal Institution, said that even Buckingham Palace
had expressed support. The Queen is the Institution's patron and Prince Andrew hosted
a breakfast at the Palace for potential donors.
The extent ofthe Royal Institution's financial woes first emerged in January when The
Times revealed that its management had been forced to sell its Ma>dFair
headquarters due to a real possibility that HSBC would foreclose on debts secured
against the property.
Speaking to members at a Special General Meeting last night, Sir Richard said: "This
timely donation has allowed us to pay off the bank loan that was the millstone around
our necks," The money, which Sir Richard called a life saver", was received in the past
fortnight, only days before a bank repayment deadline that if breached would have seen
the Royal Institution trading illegally. "Ostensibly putting the building on the market has
brought people out ofthe woodwork," Sir Richard added.
Scientists responded with a mix of jubilation and relief. Lord Winston, the fertility
expert, said: "We now have a collective responsibility for the future of the Royal
Institution and an obligation to produce a very real business plan."
Professor Mark Miodovynik, a materials scientist at University College London, and
former Royal Institution Christmas lecturer, said: "Those of us who got together were
really fighting a tide of popular opinion that heritage and anything with 'Royal' in the
titie was old-fashioned. The Royal Institution is something really important and we've
been vindicated. Suddenly things are looking quite rosy."
Since the financial problems first emerged, a group, including the physicist Brian Cox,
Sir Paul Nurse, President ofthe Royal Society, and Lord Winston, has been actively
fundraising.
The body remains around £2.7 million in debt, and Sir Richard told members that the
financial issues were "far from being resolved". However, others predicted that the £4.4
million endovyment is expected to clear the way for further donations.
One future business model is said to be establishing the Royal Institution as a British
and scientific version of TED, the conference organiser and online lecture forum.
The institution has been blighted by debt after a £22 million refurbishment overseen by
the former director Baroness Greenfield, who was made redundant in 2010.
305
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Tom Sheldon <tom ©science med iace ntre. org>
20 March 2013 12:37
Tom Sheldon
Osbome's budget speech
Dear all
The budget announcement has just started -1 know Fiona emailed you all on Monday about it so this is just a
reminder to please send your response by email to me if you would like a quote to be sent to journalists.
Thanks everyone
Tom
Tom Sheldon
Senior Press Officer
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NW]
E: tom^sciencemediacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales.
306
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
18 March 2013 17:21
Fiona Fox
FW: SMC Rapid Reaction VERSION 5: AstraZeneca's UK operations - IMMEDIATE
RELEASE
Hi Folks
Thanks for all your help today. This is what's gone out so far
Cheers
Fiona
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction VERSION 5
IMMEDIATE REIEASE. Monday 18 March 2013
Expert reaction to announcement about AstraZeneca's UK operations
NEW COMMENT Professor David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology, Imperial College London, said:
"Biologies are important but since they don't cross the blood brain barrier they are of limited use for psychiatric
disorders. The closure of the Alderly Park site brings the UK pharma sector closer to the end. The government needs
urgently to work out how we can keep GSK in Stevenage and Lilly UK in Basingstoke from going the same way."
NEW COMMENT Stephen Whitehead, CEO of the Association ofthe British Pharmaceutical Industry
(ABPI), said:
"AstraZeneca's decision to locate their global corporate headquarters and one of three global strategic R &
D centres in Cambridge is welcome news for the UK and underlines our status as a leader in life
sciences. Cambridge is a leading UK life sciences hub, containing many of the world's best thinkers and
research. AstraZeneca's announcement to focus highly skilled research and development functions in the
UK speaks to the confidence they have in its strong science base as there are many other rival clusters
such as Boston and San Francisco in the US.
'The discovery and development model in biosciences has changed significantly in recent years and
although there have been site closures, it is important to note we have moved to a model of partnership
and collaboration with academia and the biotech sector to create new medicines. The UK is already a
major centre of R & D in the global biopharmaceutical sector and over 10 per cent of R & D spend is
invested here despite our share ofthe global pharmaceutical market being less than 3 per cent. We
continue to outstrip all other industries in terms of R & D spend and spend more than £12m every day on
research.
"The Government's life science strategy supports the discovery and development model through initiates
such as the Patent Box, R & D tax credits, stimulation for translational research and support for the biotech
sector. In addition the Government has recognised the need for the NHS to play its role in stimulating the
uptake of innovation through the Innovation, Health and Wealth review. The UK continues to lag behind in
the adoption of new medicines compared to many other European countries.
307
"Despite the inipact on R & D jobs in Alderley Park, we are pleased t o note t h e continuing presence of high
tech manufacturing In the North West of England and we support the Government's decision t o create a
regional taskforce t o ensure t h e facilities at Alderley Park are used t o their fullest in future.
"We continue to call on the Government for their on-going support and commitment t o the life sciences
sector t o ensure that the UK can maintain its leading position in an increasingly competitive global battle
for scarce investment."
Professor John Hardy, Professor of Neuroscience, UCL, said:
"This isaternble blow to the UK Pharma industry. While I am sure it has many interrelated causes, the following
factors must have played a part: first, short-termism in terms ofthe need for longterm investment in drug
development pipelines (it has always proven easier for companies to get quick money for their shareholders by
mergers) and second, a hostile regulatory climate towards animal/especially rodent, work. The contrasting history
of the pharma industry in the UK compared with that in Switzerland and Germany is informative in these
regards. Our German/Swiss counterparts are still thriving whilst the UK industry has largely disappeared. Poor
leadership and heavy handed regulation are undoubtedly part ofthe problem."
Steve Bates, Biolndustry Association (BIA) Chief Executive Officer, said:
"i am pleased that AstraZeneca has seen the value ofthe UK as a global hub for bioscience and we welcome its £330
million investment in consolidating its R&D activities and its global headquarters in Cambridge.
"AstraZeneca's decision recognises the strengths of the UK in terms of its science base, biotech capabilities and
position as a leading centre for business."
President ofthe British Pharmacological Society (BPS), Professor Phil Rbutledge, said:
"The AstraZeneca team at Alderley Park has been a key player in UK drug development and it should be recognised
that many lives have been saved due to its development of important medicines, including the beta-blockers
discovered by BPS member and Nobel Prize winning pharmacologist, Sir James Black dunng his time with the then
ICl Laboratories. BPS has successfully provided careers support for its members through penods of change in the
recent past. We are working with cross-sector partners to try to future-proof both UK pharmacology and the skills of
our pharmacologists. At the same time, we warmly welcome new models for drug discovery capabilities and any
investment they might result in."
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said:
"AstraZeneca's decision to invest £330 million in a world leading R&D facility in Cambridge is a real vote of
confidence in the UK life sciences sector.
"They chose to make this major investment in the UK after considering options around the world. Our strategy for
life sciences provides a very competitive environment in the UK to conduct highly skilled research keeping us ahead
in the global race."
In response to plans for Alderley Park, David Willetts said,
"Clearly the decision to reduce R&D activity at Alderley Park is disappointing. But the government will work closely
with AstraZeneca and local partners to ensure this excellent facility has a prosperous future with new opportunities
for the site.
308
"I have agreed with AstraZeneca and local leaders that a taskforce will be established to coordinate work to support
Alderley Park staff and the local economy dunng the transition. This will work to ensure a sustainable, thriving
future for the site. The Taskforce will be jointiy led by Chris Brinsmead, the Government's Life Sciences Champion,
and Clive Morris, a Vice President of AstraZeneca, alongside local partners."
Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology, said:
"It is a sad day for many in the UK's pharmaceutical industry. On top of the closure of the Pfizer Sandwich site this
latest announcement of at least 700 job losses at AstraZeneca risks further reducing the UK's collective capability in
Drug Development. The UK is a worid leader in the field and we must ensure we retain the key skills and people to
continue this strong track record. The Cambridge investment is a hopeful step but many more of these large scale
collaborations are needed to ensure we can address the significant need to develop new medicines.''
Beck Smith, Acting Director of The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), said:
"AstraZeneca's decision t o build a new strategic centre in Cambridge shows just how important accessing
the best research and opportunities for collaboration are t o industry. However, it's disappointing that
today's announcement is coupled with job losses at existing sites.
"The Government must continue to invest in our world-leading research base to ensure that we are not
only seen as a place t o locate by industry, but also supportive of UK researchers and innovators starting
t h e i r o w n companies."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 7611 8300 if you need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacen tre.org, please e-mail the Science Medio Centre with your comments on
our service at [email protected]
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no, 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
Fiona Lethbridge
Press Office Assistant
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NWl 2BE
[email protected]
www.sciencemediacentre.org
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media
when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and
309
individuals fund the Cenfre. vnth donations capped at 5% of the running costs to presewe ils independent*.
Sdence Media Cenfre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
Registered address: 215 Euston Road, London, NWl 2BE.
310
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
18 March 2013 14:44
Fiona Fox
FW: SMC Rapid Reaction VERSION 3: AstraZeneca's UK operations - IMMEDIATE
RELEASE
fyi
From; Fiona Lethbridge rmailto:[email protected]
Sent: 18 March 2013 14:42
To: Fiona Fox
Subject: SMC Rapid Reaction VERSION 3: AstraZeneca's UK operations - IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction VERSION 3
IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Mondav 18 March 2013
Expert reaction to announcement about UK's AstraZeneca operations
NEW COMMENT Steve Bates, Biolndustry Association (BIA) Chief Executive Officer, said:
"I am pleased that AstraZeneca has seen the value ofthe UK as a global hub for bioscience and we welcome its £330
million investment in consolidating its R&D activities and its global headquarters in Cambridge.
"AstraZeneca's decision recognises the strengths of the UK in terms of its science base, biotech capabilities and
position as a leading centre for business."
President ofthe British Pharmacological Society (BPS), Professor Phil Routledge, said:
"The AstraZeneca team at Alderiey Park has been a key player in UK drug development and it should be recognised
that many lives have been saved due to its development of important medicines, including the beta-blockers
discovered by BPS member and Nobel Prize winning pharmacologist, Sir James Black during his time with the then
ICI Laboratories. BPS has successfully provided careers support for its members through periods of change in the
recent past. We are working with cross-sector partners to try to future-proof both UK pharmacology and the skills of
our pharmacologists. At the same time, we warmly welcome new models for drug discovery capabilities and any
investment they might result in."
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said:
"AstraZeneca's decision to invest £330 million in a world leading R&D facility in Cambridge is a real vote of
confidence in the UK life sciences sector.
"They chose to make this major investment in the UK after considering options around the worid. Our strategy for
life sciences provides a very competitive environment in the UK to conduct highly skilled research keeping us ahead
in the global race."
In response to plans for Alderiey Park, David Willetts said,
311
"Cleariy the decision to reduce R&D activity at Alderley Park is disappointing. But the government will work closely
with AstraZeneca and local partners to ensure this excellent facility has a prosperous future with new opportunities
forthe site.
"I have agreed with AstraZeneca and local leaders that a taskforce will be established to coordinate work to support
Alderiey Park staff and the local economy during the transition. This will work to ensure a sustainable, thriving
future for the site. The Taskforce will be jointly led by Chris Brinsmead, the Government's Life Sciences Champion,
and Clive Morris, a Vice President of AstraZeneca, alongside local partners."
Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology, said:
"It is a sad day for many in the UK's pharmaceutical industry. On top of the closure of the Pfizer Sandwich site this
latest announcement of at least 700 job losses at AstraZeneca risks further reducing the UK's collective capability in
Drug Development. The UK is a worid leader in the field and we must ensure we retain the key skills and people to
continue this strong track record. The Cambridge investment is a hopeful step but many more of these large scale
collaborations are needed to ensure we can address the significant need to develop new medicines."
Beck Smith, Acting Director of The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), said:
"AstraZeneca's decision t o build a new strategic centre in Cambridge shows just how important accessing
t h e best research and opportunities for collaboration are t o industry. However, it's disappointing that
today's announcement is coupled with job losses at existing sites.
"The Government must continue t o invest in our world-leading research base t o ensure that we are not
only seen as a place t o locate by industry, but also supportive of UK researchers and innovators starting
their own companies."
fjJote to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuafs fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 76118300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemedtacentre. ora. please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at smc&)sciencemediacentre.orq
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
Fiona Lethbridge
Press Office Assistant
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NWl 2BE
312
Tethbridqe(^sciencemediacentre.org
wvtw.sciencemediacentre.oro
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from frie scientific community to the news media
when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and
individuals fund the Cenfre. with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to presen/e its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company iimited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in Engtand and Wales.
Registered address: 215 Easton Road, London, NWl 2BE.
313
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(@sciencemediacentre.org>
18 March 201314:26
Fiona Lethbridge
reaction to news about AstraZeneca
/
Happy t o add t o this folks.
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction
IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Monday 18 March 2013
Expert reaction to announcement that AstraZeneca will be cutting down UK
operations
Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology, said:
"It is a sad day for many in the UK's pharmaceutical industry. On top of the closure of the Pfizer Sandwich site this
latest announcement of at least 700 job losses at AstraZeneca risks further reducing the UK's collective capability in
Drug Development. The UK is a world leader in the field and we must ensure we retain the key skills and people to
continue this strong track record. The Cambridge investment is a hopeful step but many more of these large scale
collaborations are needed to ensure we can address the significant need to develop new medicines."
Beck Smith, Acting Director of The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), said:
"AstraZeneca's decision to build a^new strategic centre in Cambridge shows just how important accessing
t h e best research and opportunities for collaboration are t o industry. However, it's disappointing that
today's announcement is coupled with job losses at existing sites.
The Government must continue t o invest in our worid-leading research base t o ensure that we are not
only seen asa place to Ideate by industry, but also supportive of UK researchers and innovators starting
their own companies."'
Note to Pditnrs
/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views ofthe SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
/
/
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 7611 8300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.ora, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at [email protected]
314
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
http://fionafox.blogspot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and ind'ividuats fund
the Centre, with donations capped at S% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
315
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Attachment:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
06 March 2013 16:06
fio naigscie ncemediacentre.org
FW: Correspondence from David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science to Lord
Drayson re Use of Animals in Scientific Research
image0138.pdf
HI Folks,
I think some of you know that one of the things I am passionate about is encouraging and supporting more
scientists and scientific institutions to move to being more open with the media and the public about their animal
research. As you know there is something in the water right now and lots of positive movement on this issue. I
thought it might be useful to share this letter form the Science Minister which clearly demonstrates that he feels
strongly about this and feels that all of us have a part to play.
I have sought and received permission from BIS to share this with you but please do not publish or tweet or
publicise too widely. However it may be useful for those of you whose organisations are in the midst of discussions
about this.
Cheers
Fiona
'(New Accounts) [mailto:]
ron Behalf Of Willetts MPST
From:
Corresponoence
Sent: 04 March 2013 09:49
Subject: Correspondence from David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science to Lord Drayson re Use of
Animals fn Scientific Research
Correspondence f r o m David Wllletts, Minister for Universities and Science to Lord Drayson
re U s e o f A n i m a l s I n S c i e n t i f i c R e s e a r c h
Please find t h e a b o v e letter a t t a c h e d .
«image0138.pdf»
Ministerial Correspondence Facilitator to David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and
ice I Department for Business, Innovation & Skills | [email protected] j 1 Victoria
Street. London, SWIH OET ! 020 7215 5313
The Business in You campaign highlights support for start-ups and growing businesses, and encourages
entrepreneurial spirit. For more information search online for "business in you".
Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes
316
The Rt H o n David Willetts MP
Minister for Universities and Scienoe
Departnnent
for Business
Innovation & Skills
Lord Drayson
House of Lords
London
SW1A OPW
1 Victoria Street
London
SWIH OET
T + 4 4 (0)20 7215 5000
E www.bi5.gov.uk/contact
www.Q0v.uk/bis
2 i ^ February 2013
USE OF ANIMALS IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
I am writing to thank you and Stephen Whitehead for arranging the Dinner on 21®*
January; it was an extremely useful opportunity to constructively discuss the need for
open public dialogue on the use of animals in scientific research.
With such influential representatives from across the scientific community, and benefiting
from cross party engagement. I am optimistic that these essential steps fonA/ard can be
achieved.
it was unfortunate that pariiamentary duties meant I missed the conclusions of these
discussions, but I have noted the key points and am pleased at the actions which the
ABPI and Understanding Animal Research (UAR) are already driving fonvard.
Whilst discussions were held under Chatham House rules, I thought it would be helpful
to circulate the key conclusions to maintain momentum and support the dissemination of
these actions across the whole scientific community.
We agreed that there should be a coordinated and collaborative approach to improve
public understanding and perceptions led by UAR. underpinned with strong support from
the whole scientific community and paiticularly the umbrella bodies. There was also
agreement on the need for everyone to encourage their own companies and institutions
to be more open on this subject. That includes a challenge to Govemment.
1 was particularly pleased with the offer from the charities represented to support the
ongoing dialogue with the transport sector, and am pleased that UAR is taking this
fonward. We all understand transportation companies need to manage their brand
reputation, but with the right degree of support combined with a more open approach to
public communication, I believe many of their concems can be overcome.
Additionally, as part of everyone's approach to risk management, we agreed that there
would also be benefit in considering how best to ensure wider supply chain resilience.
The Concordat which UAR is developing, following the launch event at the Science
Media Centre, is going to be an important mechanism in creating and maintaining these
cohesive efforts. Developing such a document across the whole scientific community
will be challenging, but I am reassured that a number of those who participated in the
dinner are represented on the Steering and Working Groups for this process, and that all
cleariy share the same objective and appreciate the necessity.
The challenges facing UAR, and the importance of it succeeding, were not
underestimated during our discussions. I would, therefore, urge the community as a
whole, as well as each institution, to maintain an overview of UAR's progress and to
regutariy reflect upon whether UAR has sufficient and appropriate resources to deliver
these challenges on your behalf.
THE RT HON DAVID WILLETTS MP
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
Subject:
Amy Lothian <[email protected]>
25 February 2013 17:09
Invitation - Introduction to the News Media for scientists
Dear All
As a scientist we work with, we would like to let you know about our upcoming Introduction to the News Media
events. We would be grateful ifyou could please pass the details onto colleagues who may be interested.
Science has never been as prominent in the news as it is today and it is paramount that it is communicated correctly.
We have some excellent science journalists in the UK, but the news stories will never be covered as accurately as we
want thereto be without the direct involvement of experts like yourselves.
Event dates for 2013
Wednesday 20 March 2013, 09:30 -14:30 - Queen's University Belfast
,-
Thursday 11 April 2013,13:00 -18:00 - STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), Didcot
Friday 26 April 2013,13:00 -18:00 - T h e University of Sheffield
Thursday 2 May 2013,14:00 -17:00 - The Food and Environment Research Agency, York
Register vour interest
If you wish to attend any of these free sessions please send your full name, job title, institution, institutional e-mail
address and phone number(s) to [email protected] and we will send you the programme and
more information.
Please do not request a place unless you are sure you can make the date and it is in your diary. Ifyou're interested
but there isn't a session near you, please contact us via the website
What is involved?
Each session is for 90-200 scientists and divided into two sessions with a tea break, and includes either networking
lunch or drinks reception. All events are completely free of charge.
You will be given a beginner's guide to the media, giving an insight into the way the news media works. You will get
a tour ofsome ofthe key issues and hearfrom journalists, press officers and other scientists about:
•
•
•
•
•
•
the deadlines that journalists work to
how journalists find science stories
top tips for dealing with the media
the role of the press officer
the role of the news editor
the importance of engaging with the media and how to do it
Introduction to the News Media sessions are made possible thanks to generous support from STFC
Msn't:
Skills-based media training. This session will not prepare you for a confrontation with Paxman or Humphrys but it
will give you a flavour of the mediate help you understand its demands and make iteasierforyou to work with
journalists.
/
317
Is it for vou?
These free events are designed specifically for scientists with little or no media experience and we welcome
scientists and engineers at any stage of their career in academia or industry from any institution (PhD level or
professional equivalent and above).
The sessions are especially relevant for scientists working in areas that are controversial and receive a lot of media
coverage. They will be very similar to previous SMC Introduction to the Media days- so please don't register ifyou
have attended before.
What scientists who have previously attended sav:
"I found it one of the most rewarding uses of an afternoon that I can remember."
"/ thought it was great and gave me at least 5 major take home points which I will use in the future."
We look forward to meeting you!
Best wishes
Amy
Amy Lothian
Events Officer
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
Teh^m^mB
E: [email protected]
Web: www, sci e n ce m ed i a ce ntre .o rg ^
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when sdence is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe
running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales.
318
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
14 February 2013 18:19
Fiona Lethbridge
Horsemeat briefing, roundups and rapid reactions, factsheet
HI Folks
Please don't read all this unless you are interested in/following the current controversy. I just wanted you to know
that we are flat out on this and issuing lots of comments, setting up interviews, running emergency press briefings
and producing fact sheets etc
I'm also sending this because we are keen for new experts/angles/opinion pieces-Charies Clover for example wants
to write his column (Sunday Times) on how our obsession with cheap and handy processed food has led to this and
wants me to suggest experts with a more philosophical overview so if any of you have thoughts please let me know.
I have put him in touch with the Eari of Selbourne FRS but you may have other ideas for these broader queries (John
Krebs perhaps???)
Cheers
Fiona
SMC and horsemeat
All SMC activity surrounding horsemeat, including a factsheet about bute can be found at
http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/horsemeat-scandal
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction version 2
IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Thursdav 14 Februan/ 2013
Expert reaction to the continuing horsemeat story and bute (phenylbutazone)
British Veterinary Association, said:
"The presence of phenylbutazone (or bute) in horses intended for the food chain will be of concern to consumers
who rightiy expect the UK food chain to be robust. We are grateful to the Chief Medical Officer for clarifying the very
low level of risk that this presents to human health and we will work with the FSA and Defra in any way we can to
assist their investigations into these incidents.
"The ability to treat horses with bute is very important for equine welfare. Bute provides affordable, long-term pain
relief for horses and is unique in this respect.
"The UK Horse Passport Regulations are designed to facilitate the ongoing medical treatment of horses not intended
for the human food chain, whilst ensuring that these animals do not enter the food chain.
"We fully support the concept ofthe Horse Passport Regulations but have argued for some time that there are
problems with the system in terms of the number of Passport Issuing Authorities and the vulnerability ofthe system
319
to fraud. We are ver/ keen to continue our dialogue with Defra and otbers to find ways to make the system more
robust.
"Our members are aware of the strict rules regarding the regulation of medicines (including bute) and the use of
horse passports, and in recent years we have provided clear guidance on the regulations to help both vets and their
clients. These incidents will hopefully reinforce these messages amongst horse owners and all of us involved in
equine healthcare."
Professor Peter Lees, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Pharmacology, Royal Veterinary College, said:
" 1 . Bute is an excellent pain killer in horses that makes a significant contribution t o improved welfare, and
has done so for some 60 years.
"2. The main toxicity concern in hunrians is that some people developed (very rarely - 1 in 30,000 t o 1 in
50,000 persons) an anaemia which was life threatening, when the drug was used clinically in humans. This
occurred when the drug was used therapeutically in humans at a dose rate of some 2 t o 6 mg/kg, similar
t o the current dose f o r t h e horse of 4.4 mg/kg.
"3. The evidence on carcinogenicity in animal studies was equivocal even w i t h high doses (50 t o 300mg/kg
administered daity for a virtual lifetime-2 years) - i f y o u feed rats enough of many substances they may
develop a few more tumours over t w o years. Carcinogenicity in humans is in t h e category "not
classifiable".
"4. Calculated human exposure t o phenylbutazone and its metabolite oxyphenbutazone from
consumption of horse meat, assuming a seriesof worst case scenarios, is no greater than l / 4 , 0 0 0 t h of the
dose originally given in humans therapeutically. When phenylbutazone was used therapeutically in
humans, there were inevitably reported side-effects (as for all drugs) BUT most people given bute for a
prolonged period had no serious side effects before it was withdrawn from the human market."
Professor Tim Morris, veterinary surgeon and Vice Chair of t h e British Horse Industry Confederation,
said:
"Phenylbutazone (often referred to as 'Bute') is an anti-inflammatory medicine commonly used in horses, as is a
type of medicine similar to aspirin or ibuprofen. It has a good safety record in horses but, as is sometimes found, a
different safety profile in people. Some people occasionally suffer a severe adyerse reaction to
Phenylbutazone, leading to anaemia, hence it is no longer used in people as safer alternatives are available.
"In European law, the horse is regarded as a food producing animal, so as with farm animals there are prohibitions
on animals entering the food chain, and horses treated with Bute cannot be humanely slaughtered and then the
meat passed into the food chain. To ensure this happens, each horse has its own passport, and for those horses that
have had Bute, a section in the passport is amended so the horse cannot enter the food chain.
"If Bute is being found in horsemeat it will be because either the original passport has not been amended after Bute
was prescribed by the vet, or because the passport has been altered or substituted, or because controls at the
abattoir have failed; all these circumstances are unacceptable as they pose a potential risk to human safety.
"However it is important to note that the levels of Bute in horsemeat, even if it is found, will be very low, and greatly
below the doses following medical treatment in people that have been associated with occasional rare adverse
reactions; therefore whilst this is unacceptable the actual risk to consumers is very small."
320
Science Media Centre background briefing
What? Horsemeat- bute (phenylbutazone) and DNA testing
When? 10.00am. Tuesday 12 February 2013
Where? The Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Road, IMWl 2BE
The SMC has been dealing with many queries on the scientific aspects of the current horsemeat crisis and as per
usual have asked a number of those experts to come to the SMC to answer your questions on continuing
developments in this story.
Speakers will include:
Professor Tim Morris, Vice Chair of British Horse Industry Confederation and veterinary surgeon. University of
Nottingham
Michael Walker, Science and Food Law Consultant at LGC (international analytical services company, formerly
Laboratory ofthe Government Chemist) and expert in analytical chemistry, food science and food policy; was
founder board member ofthe Food Standards Agency
Chris Smart, Corporate Business Development Manager at Leatherhead Food Research, which provides scientific
advice to industry
Dr Mark Woolfe, Food Scientist/Technologist who has worked for 25 years as a Government Scientist (MAFF and
the Food Standards Agency), with responsibility for European/UK Regulations on the labelling and composition of a
wide range of foods including meat products, He ran the FSA's Food Authenticity Programme from its beginning in
1992 up to 2009.
For further information please call Fiona Fox on
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction VERSION 2
IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday 13 February 2013
Expert reaction t o continuing horsemeat story
Prof Chris Elliott, Director o f the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University Belfast, said:
"What at first seemed to be a small scale meat contamination issue has now turned out to be a complex multinational problem that cuts across many Issues in relation to food security in the UK. It is inevitable that intensive
investigations to ascertain how and why the horse meat scandal came about must be performed. It's likely that
further twists and turns will yet be uncovered.
321
"However, eventually - and the sooner the better - the focus must switch to thinking about how we can truly protect
the integrity of all our foodstuffs that we purchase. The last great shake-up of meat supplies came about 20 years
ago due to BSE. A generation later and in the wake of some of the impacts of food globalisation starting to emerge
the time to rethink things has surely arrived."
Dr Emma Roe, Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Southampton, said:
"It is no surprise that it is the value ranges of processed meat products that are being identified as containing horse
meat. And perhaps no surprise that these are products which should contain beef - a more expensive meat than,
say, chicken.
Where has all the beef gone that should be in these products?
"There is a commercial logic to utilising the least-favoured parts of the animal carcass in processed meat products,
adding fat and salt to make them edible. The horse meat saga suggests that there is a shortage of beef products at a
price suitable for value-range processed meat products, despite the need to find a commercial home for all the parts
of the beef carcass. This may be linked to the desinewed meat ban, not considered 'meat' enough by the EU. The
retailers are pushing down prices to meet the needs of cash-strapped consumers who are dealing with food and fuel
bills prices rising. The beef meat for processed products may now just be too expensive, despite it in effect being a
waste product from a carcass that produces more desired cuts of meat.
j j o w do we normally dispose of surplus horses?
"Horses are culled when not fit for use anymore and their bodies do need to be disposed of. It appears some of
these horses are being sent to meat abattoirs. Perhaps this is a better use for them, and a better death because of
meat hygiene and humane slaughter standards than incinerating their bodies for energy? The lack of a market for
horse meat in this country may mean that it is higher quality horse meat (rather than the meat that normally ends
up in processed meat products from a beef carcass) which is in the lasagnes, burgers etc. - who knows?"
Nigel Horrox, Editor of specialist publication International Meat Topics, said:
"Consumers cannot have cheap food and food that meets more and more requirements-the two are mutually
exclusive! The possible number oftheoretical contaminants of foods for human consumption is massive and you
cannot test every food for every possible contaminant.
"When it comes to contaminants which are not associated with product safety, has the time come when we should
simply prove that what should be there is really there - and only if this is found not to be the case to then start
looking for that which should not be there?"
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction VERSION 2
322
IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursdav 24 January 2013
Expert reaction to MP's claims about phenylbutazone and horse meat
Prof Sir Colin Berry, Emeritus Professor of Pathology at Queen Mary, University of London, said:
"The compound has rarely caused blood dyscrasias even on those who have taken a lot for many years. The idea
that you might get a clinically significant amount in horse meat even after therapeutic administration to the horse is,
frankly, daft."
Peter Jones, President of the British Veterinary Association, said:
"Phenylbutazone (Bute) is a painkiller that is also used in humans. It has a licence for use in horses that have been
identified in their passport as not being destined for the food chain.
"A Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) in meat has not been established forthe use of bute in food-producing species
because of concerns regarding the toxicity of the metabolites which could reside in meat from treated animals. Due
to the lack ofthe MRL, bute is banned for use in food-producing species. The tracing system of horses for the food
chain should pick this up and any horse having been treated with bute should be removed from the food
chain. Unregulated horsemeat of unknown provenance (i.e. that which enters the food chain illegally) could have a
risk of bute residue as it is a commonly used drug."
Prof Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University Belfast, said:
"Phenylbutazone is a drug often used in horses to treat sore joints and aid recovery after fractures. Research has
shown that when humans or animals were exposed to high levels there were adverse side effects such as bone
marrow toxicity. Therefore it is not licensed for use in animals that go into the food chain. There is a system in
place in Europe which should identify when horses have been treated with the drug to prevent them going for food
production but the effectiveness of this has been doubted by many.
"Thankfully the residues of drugs such as phenylbutazone found in meat are very low and the risk to the consumer
is correspondingly low. However, the use of veterinary medicines in ail animal species that do go into the food chain
is a matter of food safety and has to be treated seriously.
"In the UK& Ireland as well as all other EU member states there are systems in place to test samples of foods of
animal origin of a wide variety of veterinary medicines. In the vast majority of cases, however, this testing is in the
raw materials - meat, eggs, fish etc - and not on processed foods. This is a gap in the monitoring system which is in
place to safeguard the consumer and authorities may feel the need to address this, particulariy as we all consume so
much processed foods these days.
"In the present incident there is no evidence to suggest any residues of veterinary medicines were detected and
indeed no evidence of any food safety related topic."
323
Prof Alastair Hay, Professor of Environmental Toxicology at the University of Leeds, said:
"According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (lARC), phenylbutazone is not classifiable as to its
carcinogenicity. There is no convincing evidence of its carcinogenicity in humans because in the individuals studied
many other drugs had also been taken and any one of these might have caused the cancers seen. And there is no
animal evidence either that it is'a carcinogen.
"The reason the chemical is not for human consumption appears to be rare and idiosyncratic responses in humans
to the chemical. These include aplastic anaemia and some other disorders of the bone marrow. But these are not
cancer events,"
Prof Hay has also provided the following research paper for background. It refers to the identifiable drug in
horsemeat and the need to have proper screening processes in place to pick up the drug.
www.horseprotection.it/docs/phenvlbutazone.pdf
The Food Standards Agency has issued the following statement:
"The Food Standards Agency (FSA) carries out checks in slaughterhouses to ensure that f}orses presented for
slaughter are fit for human consumption, in the same was as they do for other animals such as sheep and cattle. The
FSA also carries out regular enhanced sampling and testing for phenylbutazone in meat from horses slaughtered in
the UK.
"In 2012, the FSA identified five cases where horses returned non-compliant results. None ofthe meat had been
placed for sale on the UK market. Where the meat had been exported to other countries, the relevant food safety
authorities were informed.
"During the recent horse meat incident the Food Safety Authority of Ireland checked for the presence of
phenylbutazone and the samples came back negative."
http://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2013/ian/bute-horsemeat
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction VERSION 5
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday 16 January 2013
Expert reaction to horse meat found \n burgers
Dr Paul Wigley, Reader in Foodborne Zoonoses sat the University of Liverpool, said:
"The consumption of horse meat is not common in the UK for cultural and aesthetic reasons. There is nothing
inherently unhealthy about eating horse meat and it is commonly eaten in other parts of Europe and around the
worid.
324
"There are only a small number of abattoirs in the UK producing horse meat for human consumption but there are
more in Europe. These abattoirs are subject to the same standards and legal requirements as abattoirs producing
any other type of meat for human consumption. Horses need to be accompanied by a 'passport' that identifies the
animal and confirms that it is intended for human consumption. The horses, as with other species, are inspected by
the Official Veterinarian (OV) at the abattoir before they are killed. Each carcass is also inspected after slaughter to
ensure that it is fit for human consumption."
Dr Emma Roe, Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Southampton, said:
"Once an animal is brought to an abattoir and slaughtered the most valued parts ofthe carcass are often cut,
prepared and packaged immediately and sent off to supermarket shelves as fresh meat product. The parts of the
carcass that no one wants to eat as fresh meat cuts are then sent on elsewhere (including out of the country) for
'further processing'. The meat processor, who receives these frozen pieces of less-desired animal body parts from
potentially various parts of the worid, then turns them into burgers, sausages, nuggets etc.
"What is interesting is that the findings of this investigation point to the fact that the identity of the animal species
and its relation to established food produrts, for example the beef burger, should be made from the bodies of cattle
and not chickens, horses or pigs, appears to become blurred in meat processing plants. At one level, why should It
matter what species the meat comes from? The least-favoured meat cuts they are handling need flavouring and
processing to make the meat appetising, because of where the meat was harvested from the animal's carcass. But
at another level, it's crucial to be attentive to this, because of cultural and religious dispositions consumers have
about what they are happy to eat or not, and consumers deserve transparency about what meat they are eating."
Catherine Collins, Principal Dietitian at St George's Hospital NHS Trust, said:
"Few of us are directly involved in food jaroduction, so provenance is extremely important in being able to trust food
producers who supply our foods. Horsemeat itself is as nutritious as other red meats, but the fact that it, and pork
extracts, appeared in a beef product without notice is of concern - particularly for those following Kosher or Halal
diets. Animal husbandry is another key issue for meat eaters, and of course there is no way to know the health or
welfare ofthe animals included in these products.
Dr David Jukes, food law expert from the University of Reading, said:
"Manufacturers and retailers apply targeted Quality Assurance to try to ensure 100% compliance but it is not
possible to guarantee this at all times - the costs involved in attempting to achieve 100% compliance through
testing would be prohibitive. Their priority is always to maintain the safety ofthe food supply. Other matters,
whilst important, have a lower priority when establishing QA procedures. For these secondary aspects there is
therefore greater reliance on audits and traceability to maintain confidence in the Integrity of the supply chain.
"However these systems do not, and cannot on their own, identify and prevent unscrupulous traders from
fraudulently introducing cheaper ingredients into the food supply chain, which is huge and stretches around the
worid. We have come to expect foods to be available throughout the year with ingredients both local and
exotic. Any single manufactured food product may contain many ingredients from different parts of the worid
which have themselves been passed through numerous different businesses. It would be possible to create systems
which are nearly 100% reliable but this would be at exorbitant cost. However, at all stages, we rely on people - to
325
harvest, to collect, to manufacture, to distribute - and no system can ensure that people are 100% reliable or
honest. Hence the need for effective enforcement backed by penalties which create a deterrence.
"Targeted auditing and occasional random surveillance sampling is necessary to identify these cases and they are
then often followed by extensive investigations, often involving the police. It appears, from the information
currently available, that the present problem was identified through surveillance and the background to this will
now be subject to detailed investigation by many different organisations and businesses. The presence of
undeclared horse meat in a beef burger is a criminal offence and will be investigated as such.
"The reasons for the current situation are unclear and it will take time for this to be resolved. As the matter is a
criminal offence, speculation should be avoided and the investigating authorities should be allowed to proceed with
their work to ensure that, if appropriate, they are able to obtain the necessary evidence which will lead to a
successful prosecution. It is only through effective application of the law and the prosecution of offenders that all
consumers are protected."
Michael Walker, Science and Food Law Consultant at LGC (international analytical services company, formerly
Laboratory ofthe Government Chemist), said:
"In the UK the presence of horsemeat and, for some, pigmeat in beefburgers, is objectionable and emphasises the
need for vigilance in monitoring the supply chain with sound analytical testing. How it got there is speculative but I
agree with the Tesco spokesman quoted saying that the root causes of this incident are likely to be either illegality
or negligence by suppliers.
"It is possible that human error diverted the supply of horsemeat from legitimate continental producers to the
plants that seem to be implicated. In somecountries, of course, horsemeat is a legitimate part ofthe supply chain
and traditional recipes for salami and salami-type products may include meats from animals such as wild boar, horse
and donkey.
"However, given the financial climate, it is also possible that fraud - including cheaper meats to 'bulk up' the main
constituent meat product - is involved.
"The possibility of undeclared and unwanted meat species in meat products is a well-known risk. Thankfully there do
not appear to be any health implications here but the incident emphasises the need for vigilance. A relatively large
survey for horsemeat in salami was carried out In 2003 with essentially negative findings but this sort of thing crops
up from time to time.
"Regarding the presence of pigmeat in beefburgers, the FSAI have suggested that an explanation may be cross
contamination from handling pork meat in the same plant. This is a credible explanation, especially if the levels
found were low but is worrying in that cleaning and separation are basic to good hygiene and should have worked to
prevent cross contamination.
"In the UK, it is an offence under Sections 14 and 15 ofthe footf So/ety Act 1990 to sell food which is not ofthe
nature, substance or quality demanded by the consumer, or to falsely or misleadingly describe or present
food. Consumers do not expect horsemeat in beefburgers and for those who wish to avoid pigmeat the description
and labelling of the food must be accurate and honest to allow them to do so.
"DNA testing for meat species is a well-established technique and I am sure the FSAI laboratories carried out
stringent quality control of their testing to ensure accurate results.
326
"Although objectionable to many, the presence of horsemeat carries no safety implications provided the proper
hygiene and safety checks took place prior to and after slaughter. However if fraud was involved there is a risk that
those checks were ignored, resulting in unknown possibilities of microbiological and chemical hazards such as food
poisoning and veterinary drug residues.
"Lastly there is a section of the population that is at very real risk from undeclared and fraudulent switching of food
ingredients in the supply chain. People with allergies depend on accurate and honest labelling to protect them and
there have been fatalities when, for example, peanuts have been used to substitute for more expensive nuts in food
products."
Dr. Mark Tallon, Chair of the Food Law group at the Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST), said:
"The primary issue here is likely not a safety one as cooking would kill most bacterial contamination. However, the
issue is to restore public trust over control over the supply chain as these foods are clearly not of the nature and
substance intended. Pork contamination could likely be explained by poor clean-down prior to making burgers but
the horse meat is more difficult to explain given the robust regulations covering the processing of beef following the
BSE crisis ofthe 1990s.
"A major concern is how long this issue has been occurring, given this contamination was identified a few months
ago. The traces of non-beef DNA may be a result of imported horse meat. However, its appearance in burgers at an
amount of up to 30% suggests that the meat is not simply a contaminant - but we need to await the results of a full
investigation from both the retailers and food safety competent authorities before drawing any firm conclusions."
Prof Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University London, said:
"This is an illustration of how food systems work on trust. So far as we know, there are no safety implications, but it
does raise deep concerns.
"Firstly, is it fraud? No label declared the horsemeat or traces of pig DNA. Secondly, it appears to be adulteration, a
cheaper meat being substituted for a more expensive one.
"Thirdly, and probably most importantly, this exposes failings in commercial food governance. Big retailers are
supposedly in control of the food system, yet their management and contracts and specifications have been found
wanting. Retailers understandably are saying this is a matter of their suppliers. These were own-label products, we
are told. If Iwas on their Boards of Directors I'd want an overhaul of their commercial governance on meat
products. The state's system of food governance has worked, we should note. The authorities audited and exposed
the failures. Good for them.
"Finally, we need to rememberthat many cultures eat horse quite safely. But if fraud and adulteration are found,
it's a sign that standards are either stretched or weakening."
Prof Chris Elliott, Director of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University Belfast, said:
327
"The current information suggests that this is an issue about food integrity and not safety, thankfully. The .
substitution of low quality, low value materials for the true foodstuff has plagued food production for centuries. As
we are now in a global food supply chain the changes of such events occurring have increased markedly.
"While retailers operate wide ranging audit systems to verify that their supply chains are robust there must be
scientific verification that these systems are working. This might seem a simple solution but it is far from that. The
costs involved in undertaking high-level verification will ultimately be passed to the consumer. However, I believe
this is a price worth paying to ensure what we eat is what we think we have purchased."
Gaynor Bussell, Dietitian and member of the British Dietetic Association, said:
"From a nutrition and food safety aspect there is no harm in eating horse meat; the real issue is that today the
public expect to know the ingredients of what they are eating. People find eating some meats unacceptable,
including horse which is not usually eaten in the UK."
328
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From;
Sent:
To:
Subject: .
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
08 February 2013 12:52
alligsciencemediacentre.org
Richard Sykes on the future of the Rl
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2013/feb/08/building-sustainable-future-roval-institution
329
Ksymena O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
07 February 2013 14:17
[email protected]
and more on Rl
http://www.nature.com/nature/iournal/v494/n7435/full/494035a.htmPWT.ec
id=NATURE-20130207
Science communication: Royal Institution is ever more
relevant
•
Gail Cardew
You mischaracterize the impact and continued relevance ofthe Royal Institution of Great Britain (Rl) by
presenting an incomplete picture (Nature 493. 452: 2013).
In 2012 the RI delivered 87 evening events. Ofthe 46 held in the Faraday Theatre, the mean attendance was
288, much higher than might be expected from a small marketing budget. The thriving schools programme
featured 136 lectures and workshops, reaching nearly 13,000 students last year alone. The RI runs
mathematics and engineering masterclasses for schoolchildren at more than 140 UK locations. Our activities
score very highly using the industry-standard Generic Leaming Outcomes, which gauge enjoyment,
inspiration, knowledge and understanding.
Thanks to its unique position and unrivalled heritage, the RI attracts the best scientists and science
communicators across its programmes, including psychologist Stephen Pinker and physicist Brian Cox.
Even if one thinks that public talks are irrelevant in this age of "the Intemet and mass media", then the RI is
still a powerful player. Our televised Christmas Lectures had an audience of 4.2 million in 2011.
The RI Channel website launched just over a year ago and showcases some 300 videos, which have so far
attracted almost 1 million views. Some highlight recent RI events, others featwe re-digitized footage from
our archive, and there are high-quaJity videos from scientific institutions across the world.
I accept that mistakes made by the RI have led to the current situation. The growing popularity of its
programmes — live, broadcast and online — isn't one of them.
330
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
07 February 2013 08:33
Fiona Fox
more on the Rl
from my former colleague Mark Peplow
http://rsc.li/12tQP2k
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
E: fiona(S).sciencemediacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
fionafox. bio ^spot. com
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media wiien science is in
the headlines. Over SO supporters tncluding scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals ftind the Centre, with
donations capped al 5% ofthe nmning costs to preserve its independence.
Science Medig Centre is a registered charily (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Waies.
331
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
05 February 2013 11:08
[email protected]
Couple of articles that may be of interest
HI Folks
Would be interested in your thoughts on 2 things
1.
My article on the dangers of promoting women experts over the best experts on the airwaves
www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/blogcollegeofiournalism/posts/Women-scientists-dont-put-them-on-air-unless-thevre-thebest
and this piece this morning (see pasted below) which is one of a few articles that are lamenting the failure of the
Leicester experts to publish their findings in a peer reviewed journal. I personally am struggling to be as upset
about this as 1 would inevitably be if these were findings affecting public health or the environment and I gather
Leicester felt under huge pressure from the media to get the identity out there while repeatedly stressing that the
science is on-going, has been submitted to a journal etc. But I may be wrong - if any of you feel strongly enough to
write an opinion piece I'm sure there would be an appetite and I always think these kinds of rows are a great
opportunity to talk about the process of science
Cheers
Fiona
http://www.gua rdian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/04/richa rd-iii-scientists-plaving-media-gallerv?intcmp=239
Richard III discovery shows scientists playing to the media
gallery
Though Leicester University has managed how it presents its 'king in the car park' findings, this
populism sets a worrying trend
Share i
Tweet this
QEmail
o Catherine Fletcher
o quardian.co.uk. Monday 4 February 2013 16.15 GMT
o Jump to comments (...)
333
•7i.ciccs.icr
eraity^^^/2
\
W^^>
Jo Appleby From Leicester University during a press conference confimiing the discovery of the remains of King Richard III.
Photograph: Andy Weekes/Rex Features
The "king in the car park" story has proved irresistible for the media. The discovery
of the body of Richard III is a huge coup for archaeologists at Leicester University
who can be rightfully proud of their find. But the way it's been reported raises some
uncomfortable questions about news values and history.
Chartotte Hioqins has blogged that it's all about "impact", the dreaded pressure on
academics to demonstrate public engagement with their work. But it's also about the
media and what news organisations want to print, promote and broadcast. Can you
really blame universities for picking out those bits of their research that will interest
the press, and putting them out there in the most media-savvy way possible?
This is a historical story that ticks lots of news boxes. It has royalty and celebrity controversial royalty at that, given Richard's historical reputation as a "bad king". It
has a nice touch ofthe ordinary: the discovery In the mundane urban environment
of a car park. It has a supporting tale by the screenwriter and member of the
Richard III Society, Philippa Langtey, who says in the Daily Mail, that she "felt a chill
on a hot summer's day as she walked through the area where it was thought he was
buried". Notjust history, but ghosts. And the big reveal ofthe results has been
thoroughly stage-managed, with live TV coverage and a Channel 4 documentary.
Yet despite the problems, this is genuinely interesting history. There has long been
debate about Richard III and his reputation. How much this excavation will
contribute to that is yet to be seen, but it isn't only about impact. Even without the
public attention, this would have been an intriguing project.
To their credit the Leicester team were duly careful with the presentation of their
research. No dashing to conclusions in the news conference: this was measured
and scientific. Nonetheless, releasing results directly to the media before their
publication in learned journals is a new trend. Theapproach of Cern in the quest for
the Higqs boson has been influential here. Universities have realised that media
interest generates publicity and with it - they hope - cash.
For my money, Leicester University has handled this well. Their results.as
presented todav, look impressive to this non-expert. But the danger is that this sets
a trend, that academics with less well-grounded findings will be bounced into talking
them up if they're considered newsworthy.
Amid the excitement over Richard III, we should be conscious of how news values
shape the history we see on TV and in the press. Imagine that the Leicester
334
archaeologists had uncovered not a royal grave, but a grave of some peasant
farmers, results from which completely changed the picture of what we know about
human nutrition in the 15th century. Not so glamorous, but just as important in
understanding the past - perhaps more so. Such discoveries wouldn't have the
media pull of "England's lost king".
Traditional "kings and queens" history, so criticised over the decades by historians,
still plays very well on TV and in the press. Fair enough to ask academics to reflect
on the push and pulf ofthe impact agenda. But the media might think about Its own
priorities when it comes to history too.
• A shorter version of this blogpost was published on the University of
Sheffield's Historv Matters bloa
Robin Bisson
Science Information Officer
Science Media Centre
215 E uston Road
London N W l 2BE
-Tel^4^^^^■M
E: romnws^^^ffieaiacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.orR
^RobinBisson
The Science Media Centre Is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company iimited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales.
335
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
31 January 2013 18:47
[email protected]
thanks everyone
Nowl know the kinds of media enquiries you like!!! But first come first served went to Simon Wesseley who said
some of the following....
Thanks to everyone else who offered - shame they could not have more than one - listen out at 8.50
Fiona
From: Rona Fox fmaiito:fionag)sciencemediacentre.orq1
Sent: 31 January 2013 18:09
To: 'Sarah Nelson'
Cc: 'Wessely, Simon'
Subject: Found you someone really good
Find you someone
ProfessorSimon Wessely, {just been Knighted so think he's OBE now!)
Chair of Psychiatry at Kings College London
Basically says it's Rubbish
Yes there is an industrial side to science these days - like the sanger genome studies etc - but they are all built on
moments of genius and discovery by individuals
And actually there are new and emerging fields of study - what about Epigenetics - new field emerged over last
few years, and in psychiatry new fields of research opening up as we speak
Like a football game - you can have loads of players but you need individual genius on pitch or a superb manager to
make the difference....
Simon added
"Reminds me of the notorious Chair of the Royal College of Surgeons who declared, can't remember when but
about 1900, that surgery was over, because given that they could never enter the abdomen, there was nothing
more for them to do...
"More seriously, am pretty sure that Kelvin said something very very similar about a day before Einstein published
his theory of relativity
336
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Attachments:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
31 January 2013 17:25
[email protected]
Urgent - Lovely opportunity to go on Today programme tomorrow moming - first come first
served
Comment_Geniuses.pdf
Can I persuade one ofyou to go on Today in the morning(atthe very civilised 10 to 9 slotl) to discuss this piece in
Nature (see attached)
1 have only just had the call so not read it properiy yet myself but they say what they are interested in is the idea
that all the really big, game-changing breakthroughs in science have already been made and what we now have is
much more about small incremental progressions building on past discoveries.
They also want to ask whether this means that 'brilliance' or 'genius' in science is now more rare than in the past
because the really genius discoveries have already been made and we just build on them.
She also said that they are interested in the idea that individuals do not shine in the new era as these incremental
steps forward tend to be made by groups of scientists working across disciplines and across the world
1 am fascinated to know what you think of this too so hope you wili say yes - these kinds of media opportunities are
a really nice way to talk about the way science works so please do consider it - 1 will make it easy for you by getting
them to send a car there are back etc
Cheers
Fiona
From: Sarah Nelson rmailto:5arah.nelson(abbc.co.uk1
Sent: 31 January 2013 17:14
To: 'fionagisdencemediacentre.ora'
Subject: FW: Emailing: Comment_Geniuses.pdf
Hi Fiona
Here is the piece - let me know if you have problems opening it. As discussed, we are keen to do a discussion about
whether this is right or not, at 0850 tomorrow. Our presenters are John Humphrys and Jim Naughtie.
Kind regards
Sarah
From: Tom Feilden
Sent: 31 January 2013 14:13
To: Sarah Nelson
Subject: FW: Emailing: Comment_Geniuses.pdf
From: Tom FeildenSent: 31 January 2013 12:49
337
To:
Subject: Emailing: Comment_Geniuses.pdf
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338
^
Scientific genius is extinct
Dean Keith Simonton fears that surprising originality in the natural sciences is a
thing of the past, as vast teams finesse knowledge rather than create disciplines.
M
any scientists devote their careers
to studying phenomena that they
Can assume will not go away any­
time soon. Life forms will always undergo
change across generations, so evolutionary
biologists will always have a job. But the very
phenomenon that I investigate might have
actually ceased to exist
I have devoted more than three decades
to studying scientific genius, the highest
level of scientific creativity'. The creative
scientist contributes ideas that are original
and useful. The sdentific genius, however,
offers ideas that are original, useftil and sur­
prising. Such momentous leaps — be they
theories, discoveries or inventions — are
notjust extensions of already­established,
domain­specific expertise: the scientific
genius conceives of a novel expertise.
Albert Ejnstein's special theory of rela­
tivity met these three criteria and required
introductQry­level textbooks to be rewrit­
ten. Einstein overthrew the Newtonian
concept of absolute space and time, and
revealed a groundbreaking relationship
between matter and energy, denoted in his
femous equation, E=nn^.
Geniuses have played a decisive part in
science in two main ways. First, they have
founded new scientific disciplines, such as
Galileo's creation of telescopic astronomy.
Second, geniuses have revolutionized
established disdplines. Charles Darwin, for
instance, proposed that species evolve by
natural selection at a time when many biolo­
gists believed that life forms were fixed from
the moment of Biblical creation.
Yet, in my view, neither disdpline creation
nor revolution is available to contemporary
scientists. Our theories and instruments
now probe the earliest seconds and ^thest
reaches of the Universe, and we can investi­
gate the tiniest of life forms and the shortest­
lived of subatomic particles. It is difficult to
imagine that scientists have overlooked some
phenomenon worthy of its own discipline
alongside astronomy, physics, chemistry and
biology. For more than a century, any new
discipline has been a hybrid of one of these,
such as astrophysics, biochemistry or astro­
biology. Future advances are likely to build on
what is already known rather than alter the
foundations of knowledge. One ofthe big­
gest recent sdentific accomplishments is the
discovery of the Higgs boson — the existence
of which Was predicted decades ago.
Newton, Marie Curie or Louis Pasteur.
Contemporary scientists generally have very
high IQs^ If anything, scientists today might
require more raw intelligence to become a
first­rate researcher than it took to become a
genius during the "heroic age' ofthe sdentific
revolution in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, given how much information and
experience researchers must now acquire
to become proficient. It is hard to know
whether Pierre­Simon Laplace or lames
Clerk Maxwell would have been bright
enough to master the formidable mathemat­
ics of superstring theory, for instance.
The days when a doctoral student could be
the sole author of four revolutionary papers
while working full time as an assistant exam­
iner at a patent office — as Einstein did in
1905 — are probably long gone. Natural sd­
ences have become so big, and the knowledge
base so complex and specialized, that much
ofthe cutting­edge work these days tends to
emergefromlarge, well­fimded collaborative
teams involving many contributors.
SCIENCE OLYMPIANS
At this point, let me add three darifications.
First, \ am not saying that scientific progress
will cease. On tJie contrary, I believe that
the sdentific enterprise will continue to get
"faster, higher, stronger" Textbook chapters
will continue to be updated. At worst, some
disciplines will asymptotically approach
some ill­defined limit of precision and com­
prehensiveness, much as seems to be hap­
pening in many competitive sports. Just as
athletes can win an Olympic gold medal by
beating the world record only by a fraction
of a second, sdentists can continue to receive
Nobel prizes for improving the explanatory
breadth of theories or the preciseness of
measurements. These laureates still count
as 'Olympian scientists'.
Second, I am not arguing that science is
becoming 'dumbed down', or that modem
investigators are less intelligent than Nico­
laus Copernicus, Reni Descartes, Isaac
Finally, 1 am not asserting that brilliant
scientists can no longer attempt to introduce
new paradigms, or even to devise original
disciplines. It is just that such innovations
seem less likely to catch on. According to
Thomas Kuhn's classic analysis of scientific
revolutions, a discipline within the physi­
cal and biological sciences should not even
be receptive to a paradigm shift unless the
discipline is in a state of crisis, produced by
the accumulation of critical findings that
continue to resist explanation^. For exam­
ple, spedal relativity resolved the impasse
set in motion by, among other things, the
1887 experiment by US physidsts Albert
Michelson and Edward Moiley that failed to
detect the universal 'ether' assumed to help
propagate electrom^netic waves.
Most, if not all, disdplines in the natural
sdences do not seem dose to this crisis state.
The core disdpUnes have accumulated not
so much anomalies as mere loose ends that
will be tidied up one way or another. A pos­
sible exception is theoretical physics, which
is as yet unable to integrate gravity with the
other three forces of nature.
Of course, 1 hoi>e that my thesis is incorrect
I vrould hate to think that genius in sdence
has become extinct and that my research spe­
dality has become obsolete. It takes only one
new sdentific genius to prove me wrong. ■
Dean Keith SinioDton is professor of
psychology at the University of Califomia at
Davis, Califomia 95616, USA.
e­mail: [email protected]
1. Simonton. D.K. Scientific Gen/us: A ftyc/)0/(^o/
Science (Cambridge Unk Pfess, 1988).
2. Simonton.D.K.Cfeatn^JnSpence.­Cf)ancft
Logift Genius; andZeHgeist (Cambridge Univ.
Press, 2004).
3. Kuhn,l.S. The Stiuclureol Scientific Revolutions
(Univ, Chicaeo Press, 1996).
6 0 1 I N A T U R E I VOL 4 9 3 I 31 IA[JUARV 2 0 1 3
602 Cornmenf ­ goniuseft PJ AH.indd 602
^
25^1/2013 1026
m
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
25 January 2013 14:17
Fiona Lethbridge
And another one on the Rl from Phil Willis
http://www.suardian.co.uk/science/blog/2013/ian/25/game-up-roval-institution
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
http://fionafox.blogspot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Sdence Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
339
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
25 January 2013 13:02
[email protected]
Two Rl commentaries - Alice Thomson and Dean Bumett
Loads more on the Rl around today - including these two...
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/alicethomson/article3665305.ece
Wake up, Royal Institution. Smell the coffee
Alice Thomson
Put Costa and Carluccio's on the ground floor, then concentrate on the serious science
Other people spend their childhoods dressing up as footballers or ballet dancers. I spent mine as a
DNA molecule bouncing on a trampoline, licking litmus paper and being dunked in a bath in my
school swimsuit in front of an audience to explain displacement.
My grandfather and great grandfather had both been directors ofthe Royal Institution. My mother was
brought up on the top floor of the neoclassical building on Albemarle Street in Mayfair. So I was
expected to help with the children's Christmas science lectures.
I used to spend hours wandering round the oldest research organisation in the world, looking at the
instrument that showed why the sky is blue and Michael Faraday's voltameter used to demonstrate the
power of electricity.
The Ri was haunted by Nobel prize winners; 15 of them conducted their research in its warren of
laboratories. (One once covered his medal in mercury in an experiment and couldn't get it off again.) I
would sit on the benches where ten chemical elements were discovered. The technicians would v^eld
their bunsen burners only a minute away from the shoppers on Bond Street, blowing glass animals and
spinning toffee for me to take home.
I would watch the queue of people dressed in black tie for the Friday Evening Discourses and see
James Watson and Max Ferutz disappearing up in the Uft to the lecture theatre where Faraday had
explained electricity. In the 19th century, the lectures were so popular that Albemarle Street became
London's first one-way thoroughfare because there were so many carriages outside its doors.
The Ri wasn't just for scientists. One himdred and thirty years heioreBlue Peter and its double-sided
sticky tape, it was teaching children at its Christmas lectures how the world works, starting an
educational programme in 1825 for budding scientists that is still sold out each year. Writers and
musicians also lectured and debated there. When my great-grandfather, W. H. Bragg, was director,
Rudyard Kipling would pop in and H. G. Wells read out his essays. My grandfather, W. L. Bragg, once
had to hold Yehudi Menuhin upside down in a headstand before he gave his talks. Decades later,
Margaret Thatcher held forth about her whippy ice cream at Ri dinners and was convinced to spend
money on the Hadron Collider.
Now the building may well be put up for sale as just another piece of Mayfair real estate because the Ri
is £7 million in debt. No wonder the scientific establishment is horrified. It's like selling off the Royal
Academy or Titian's Diana and Callisto. It's their heritage. They want the Govemment to save it for
the nation. But the Ri isn't a painting that can just hang on a wall — it can't be left dangling. It needs to
be used. The National Trust could possibly take over the building, but the Ri is more than a country
estate or an architectural gem. It needs a purpose.
Shops may sound a dire solution but they could be part ofthe answer. The ground floor could be
rented out and that would still leave four more crammed with scientific endeavour. The Tower of
London has a Costa coffee; the Ri can too between its Corinthian columns. It could also have a
Carluccio's or Byron's burgers. Like the Science Museum, which has a fantastic shop, the Ri could sell
gadgets, mind games, science kit and books. It could be an educational Hamleys for tiger mothers.
340
Tiffany's and Gucci might be too much, but Apple could have a store. These would provide the Ri with
steady rent and would attract more people into the free museum.
The institution should also return to having scientific directors. Since Susan Greenfield left in 2010, it
has been run by a CEO, Chris Rofe, whose career has been in museums and visitor attractions, but it
also needs a well-known figurehead. "The Royal Institution without a great scientist is like Wimbledon
without a star tennis player," said one former director. Now that Brian Cox is teaching quantum
mechanics at Manchester University, applications for physics undergraduate courses have doubled.
The Ri is unlikely to get Professor Cox but it does need a respected, innovative and articulate scientist
who would like a flat in London and could entice their colleagues to come and explain their latest
theories and discoveries.
Then it could extend the Friday discourses, reintroduce novelists and musicians and even politicians.
Bill Clinton has spoken at the Ri. Next time President Obama is here he should give it a try. David
Cameron could be giving his speech on Eiuope today in the lecture theatre, Oxford, Cambridge or the
Open University (an orgarusation that the self-educated Faraday would have loved) could use it to run
masterclasses, workshops and outreach programmes.
The Ri was built when this country was leading scientific research. It is again now. Its laboratories are
too small to find the latest advanced materials needed for the next generation of nuclear fission and
nuclear fusion but the Ri's role can still be to teach the difference between the two — and encourage
the next generation of scientists and thinkers.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/brain-flapping/2013/ian/25/roval-institution-building-should-be-saved
The Royal Institution building should be saved for everyone
Arguments abound at present over whether the financially troubled Royal Institution's historic
premises should be saved. But arguments of elitism overlook the fact that it's open to everyone
Imagine the uproar if the Church of England announced that they were in debt and
putting Canterbury Cathedral up for sale. "It's OK", the Archbishop would say, "we'll
still take the Church to the people who need it, it's only a building. We can Just
move. Maybe somewhere a bit more modern, where the upkeep isn't so pricey. Or
maybe just hold services in the pub every couple of weeks? People like pubs..."
The kerfuffle would be unimaginable, the press would be appalled. There would be
columns dedicated to losing our heritage. You can touch the walls and feel the
vibration of history running through your fingers. You sit down on a pew and feel the
wood that thousands of bottoms have touched before. For Christians and many
others, the building means something.
In the last year a building has had much that effect on me, though in a more secular
way. That building houses The Royal Institution, and last Friday an
announcement was made that they were being forced to consider selling up to pay
their debts. There has been uproar on Twitter.campaigns begun, letters to The
Times from former Christmas Lecturers, and even a petition to the government to
save it for the nation.
Yesterday Martin Robbins made a persuasive argument that the bricks and mortar
of The Royal Institution shouldn't matter, that modern outreach is all about grass
roots events, and I've seen a few voices echo agreement. But while I agree that
science should be everywhere (indeed I said so myself in a blog post ten davs ago).
I still think The Rl would be bereft without its old home.
I remember the first time I walked into the Faraday Lecture Theatre, in December
2011, to attend a charity night hosted by Robin Ince. I left at the end ofthe evening
on a complete high, although that might have been something to do with the ether
341
soaked cotton wool balls that UCL'sProf Andrea Sella left in front of me for two
hours. I've been back many times since. In fact, I blame The Royal Institution for
several things, one of which is my enrolling to do a science degree. I even confess
to sitting on the massive wooden desk In the deserted lecture theatre, pretending I
was Car! Sagan and wondering what it would have been like to be at hisChristmas
Lectures.
And it's not just the lecture theatre. I've spent many happy hours roaming the
corridors, poking my nose past doors left ajar, pulling books from shelves in
deserted libraries. At The Royal Institution, I can do all that. It took me quite a long
time to realise that nobody would question me for my imposition. That's because,
somewhat uniquely, it's meant exactly for people like me. Me, a working class
woman, without a degree, in a poorly paid job, with two kids. And I'm sorry to say,
but there are massive areas of science outreach that simply don't "reach" to people
like me at all. I can't always make those pub nights and pop-up events, and I can't
afford a babysitter.
The Roya! Institution has a sense of permanence. It soaks me in science at my own
time and pace. It's always there when I have the time for it, not like that once-amonth sc! comedy night in the pub that I can't make because my kid's ill. And it's not
only there for social events. You can wrap yourself in solitude and silence in its
corridors and side rooms, with barely the bang of a distant door for company. I'm an
introvert, I don't always want my sense of wonder at science to be accompanied by
masses of people and beer (though I can have that too at The Rl if I choose). Alom
Shaha recently made an argument for a form of church for atheists, and while his
emphasis was on the sense of community I also think atheists can appreciate a
place to be quiet and think. The Royal Institution is my personal thinking place, and
the fact that my heroMichaei Faradav used to think there before me is a bonus.
The Rl is a welcoming place. There are no stipulations to becoming a member
beyond the annual fee so if, as Martin says, it's primarily "rich old white
establishment" then it's up to people like you and me to change that. I'm making a
start, I joined last week, and I agree with Michael Brooks in The New
Statesman that diversity would be fundamental to a new pathway.
The building and contents combined create cohesion, and a sense of history that
could not be conveyed if separated from each other. Yes, you could take Faraday's
laboratory in the basement and recreate it at The Science Museum, but to me there
is little sadder sight thanStephenson's Rocket on a plinth surrounded by white walls,
when it should be in a railway yard somewhere in its wonderful dirty, oily context. If I
saw Faraday's big wooden desk behind a velvet rope, I'd be so sad I think I'd never
want to see it again. Objects mean something, but they mean even more when
they're in the place they were invented at or intended for. Just ask any proponent of
returning The Elgin Marbles, orthe Museums who "save artworks forthe nation".
I agree with Martin that the government should not be our first call to save
Albemarle Street. I would be looking to the Heritage Lottery Fund orthe National
Trust, or even its most natural partner. The Wellcome Trust. I also agree with Martin
completely that the vision of The Rl needs a massive rethink. The bland, soulless
bar and dining area were a horrible mistake. I would happily see them replaced by a
342
hands on area full of Archimedes screws and interesting contraptions (with "adults
only" evenings because let's face it, the fun stuff like that is dominated by the under
10s). But it's beyond the cosmetic, too. The Rl needs to consider the best way to
put the building to use when it has such excellent outreach though its
website, Twitter account and video channel.
I can love Showoffs and Skeptics events, I can get grubby and have fun in the grass
roots and buy the speakers a beer after (I've done that at the Rl too)... But yes, I am
firmly behind the campaign to save Albemarle Street.
Sometimes, buildings matter. They mean something. Just ask anyone \A^O belongs
to English Heritage or The National Trust. To anyone with a passion for science, the
Royal Institution should mean as much as any artwork or stately home. Notjust its
mission statement or outreach programmes. Bricks, mortar and all.
Robin Bisson
Science Information Officer
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London U\
E: roDJnfg'sciencemediacentre.ore
W e b : www.sciencemediacentre.org
^RobinBisson
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including sdentific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales.
343
K s y m e n a Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
25 January 2013 10:53
Subject:
any respon
Happy to issue your response to this [please - 1 think this is big news?
From: Amy Lothian rmailto:[email protected]
Sent: 25 January 2013 10:39
To: Stafl^
Subject: Government response to consultation on fertility and human tissue regulators
http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/2013/01/response-hfea-hta/
Government response to consultation on fertility and human
tissue regulators
25 January, 2013
The Department of Health has today published Its response to its consultation on proposals to transfer
functions from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the Human Tissue Authority
(HTA) to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Health Research Authority (HRA). The public
consultation ran from June to September 2012.
The department heard from all 4 main bodies directly affected by the proposals (HFEA. HTA, CQC. HRA).
from significant organisations such as the British Medicai Association and the British Fertility Society, a
number of Royal Colleges, as well as private sector organisations and individuals.
Taking all views into consideration, the department has decided, on balance, that it will not pursue a
transfer of functions at this time
However, the department remains committed to achieving further efficiencies in the way the HFEA and the
HTA operate and, taking account of a clear message in the consultation responses, will initiate an
independent review of how both bodies carry out their functions. The independent review, which will start
immediately and report to ministers in April, will seriously consider the feasibility of a merger of the HFEA
and the HTA.
■ Read the government response to the consultation
■ Read the stakeholder responses to the consultation
■ Terms of reference for the independent review
Amy Lothian
Events Officer
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NW12BE
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
344
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe
running costs to presen/e its independence.
Sdence Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales.
345
Ksymena O k o n s k a (BBSRC. SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona{@sciencemediacentre.org>
18 January 2013 17:47
Fiona Lethbridge
Fwd: SMC Roundup version 4 - Reaction to the news about possible sale of Rl
fyi
Forwarded message
From: Fiona Lethbridge <Iethbridge(Sisciencemediacentre.org>
Date; 18 January 2013 16:10
Subject: SMC Roundup version 4 - Reaction to the news about possible sale of RI
To: lethbridge(g),sciencemediacentre.org
Science Media Centre Round-Up VERSION 4
FOR IMMEmATE RELEASE, Fridav 18 Januarv 2013
Expert reaction to news ofthe possible sale ofthe Royal Institution
NEW COMMENT Professor Chris Pollock, Honorary Research Professor, Aberystwyth University,
said:
"I was saddened to hear ofthe fmancial problems facing the Royal Institution and ofthe threat of sale ofthe
building. At a time when so much emphasis is being placed upon public engagement with science it seems
to me to be quite unacceptable for the commimity to stand by whilst such a venerable and venerated
institution loses its home. How can we contemplate allowing the spot where Michael Faraday lectiu-ed to
the public to be tumed into another up-market West End shop? As someone who has had the privilege of
lecturing there, I would fully support efforts by the scientific establishment to set up a national campaign to
save the Ri and ensure that it remains a focus for all that is best in science engagement."
Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, said:
"Many of us in the science community have for some time now been aware ofthe financial pressures the Ri
has been under, which go deeper than simply a reflection ofthe current economic climate. But no-one
foresaw the possibility that the wonderfiil building on Albemarle Street might actually need to be sold off. It
seems crazy that at a time when science and science conimunication is riding a wave of popularity not seen
for generations we hear that the very epitome of a British scientific institution is under threat. We cannot sit
back and wait for a potential rich benefactor to come along - we need to mobilise a national campaign to
raise the necessary funds to save it. I have had the privilege of giving many lectures in its famous theatre indeed with another one coming up next week. It is truly one ofthe most inspirational places in the world to
lecture in and one is constantly aware ofthe ghosts of Davy and Faraday looking down."
346
Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive o f t h e British Science Association, said:
"I am very sad that the excellent staff at the Royal Institution are facing such a situation and wish them
the best for a successful outcome."
Colin Blakemore, Professor of Neuroscience a n d Philosophy, University of London, said:
"The RI invented science commimication, but there are now a multitude of other organisations that do the
same things, sometimes better and usually more cheaply. Nevertheless, the loss of this icon of public
science would be a tragic signal that Britain no longer values its unique contribution to history. A fraction of
the cost of a Picasso or a football club would save this venerable institution. Surely there's a benefactor out
there who wants to secure a place in history by rescuing it."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venmre working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups,
charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs
to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and represents neither the
views ofthe SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you fmd an expert on a topical area ofscience, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 7611 8300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.org, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at smc(a)^ciencemediacentre. org
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
347
Fiona Lethbridge
Press Office Assistant
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NWl 2BE
leth bridae @.sciencemediacenf re. orq
www.sciencemediacentre.orq
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media
when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, univereities, coiporate organisations and
individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity {no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
Registered address: 215 Euston Road, London. NWl 2BE.
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
Tel:' _
___
E: fionafatsci encemedi acentre. org
Web: wovw.sciencemediacentre.org
fio nafox. b logspot. com
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with
donations capped at 594 ofthe ninning costs to preserve its indq)endence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limiled by guarantee (no, 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
348
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Cc:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(gsciencemediacentre.org>
18 January 2013 12:46
All
2-greatandgood
Fwd: Reaction to the news about possible sale of Rl
Hi folks...we are getting lots of calls on this. Would anyone else like to comment
Cheers
Fiona
Sent from my iPad
Begin forwarded message:
From: John-Von-Radowitz <iohn.vonradowitz(5).pressassociation.com>
Date: 18 January 2013 12:41:33 GMT
To: "'fiona(aisciencemediacentre.org'" <fiona(S!sciencemediacentre.org>
Subject: RE: Reaction to the news about possible sale of RI
Hi Fiona, if anyone else wants to provide comments on this, they'd be gratefully received..
Regards,
John
From: Fiona Fox rmailto:[email protected]
Sent: 18 January 2013 07:39
To: all^sciencemediacentre.oro
Subject: Reaction to the news about possible sale of RI
Science Media Centre Round Up
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Fridav 18th January 2013
Expert reaction to news of the possible sale of the Royal Institution
Colin Btakemore, Professor of Neuroscience and Philosophy, University of London
"The Ri invented science communication, but there are now a multitude of other organisations
that do the same things, sometimes better and usually more cheaply. Nevertheless, the loss of
this icon of public science would be a tragic signal that Britain no longer values its unique
contribution to history. A fraction of the cost of a Picasso or a football club would save this
venerable institution. Surely there's a benefactor out there who wants to secure a place in
history by rescuing it."
349
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
E:fiona(ajsciencemedi acentre .org
Web: www, sc iencemediacentre .org
fionafox.blogspot.com
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news
media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate
organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
350
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona(gsciencemediacentre.org>
17 January 2013 19:01
Fiona Lethbridge
Fwd: Richard Sykes statement on ri
FYI
Sent from my iPad
Begin forwarded message:
From: Helen Jamison <helenfg),sciencemediacentre.org>
Date: 17 January 2013 18:21:39 GMT
To: All <all(a),sciencemediacentre.org>
Subject: Richard Sykes statement on ri
www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=^displayContent&id=00000006869
Sent from my iPhone
351
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
17 January 2013 16:54
2-greatandgood
Fwd: Rl for sale
Hi folks
Hannah at the Times hasjust called to ask ifl can find someone to chat to her about the news about the RI.
Can you let me know ASAP ifyou are happy to have a quick chat
Cheers
Fiona
Sent from my iPad
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Devlin, Hannah" <hannah.devlin(a),thetimes.co.uk>
Date: 17 January 2013 16:48:23 GMT
To: Fiona Fox <fiona(S?sciencemediacentre.org>
Subject: RI for sale
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/construction-propertv/article3659815.ece
A building in Mayfair that is home to the world's oldest scientific
institution and provided the setting for discoveries by Michael
Faraday is up for sale.
The Royal Institution of Great Britain is imderstood to have
instructed Cyril Leonard, a niche property agent, to market its
building on Albemarle Street for more than £60 million.
The institution was set up in 1799 to connect people with science. The
popularity of its lectures led to Albemarle Street becoming London's
first one-way street to avoid gridlock. It could not be reached for
comment.
Hannah Devlin | Science Editor
The Times
3 Thomas More Square
London
E98 1TT
-Mobile^
Follow me on twitter @hannahdev
"Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail"
352
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353
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fionaigsciencemediacentre.org>
08 January 2013 10:01
[email protected]
News
Hi Folks - Happy New Year t o you all. For those who do not know the wonderful Imran Khan has today
been announced as the new CEO o f t h e British Science Association, taking over from Roland Jackson. I
think it's a really brave and exciting appointment and I'm delighted for Imran and the BSA.
Cheers all
Fiona
CaSE announces new trustees and departure of
Director
For immediate release - 8*^ January 2013
Contact Beck Smith at the Campaign for Science and Engineering for further details; 020 7679 4995
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) today announced that its director, Imran Khan, will be leaving the
organisation to become Chief Executive of the British Science Association in April. Mr Khan has led CaSE since Joining
as director in 2010.
CaSE also announced the appointment of six new trustees from the worid of science and engineering who will help
set CaSE's strategy and oversee the organisation's work over the coming years.
Khan commented:
"I'm sorry to be leaving such an important institution. However, I'm confident that CaSE has a bright future,
especially under its new Board of Trustees. I've hugely enjoyed my time here, and will miss the staff
enormously."
"However, I'm delighted to be joining the British Science Association at such an exciting time. Science is a
bigger part of our lives than ever before, and promoting understanding between scientists and the public
has therefore never been more important".
CaSE will be announcing the searchfor Mr Khan's successor before the end of January. Potential applicants are
advised keep an eye on CaSE's website over the coming weeks, t h e process will be led by Prof Hugh Griffiths, CaSE's
Chair, who commented:
"Although we're sorry to be losing Imran, I wish him the very best for his role at the British Science
Association. A change of leadership is a challenging time for any organisation, but it's also an opportunity for
CaSE to once again take a fresh look at how best we can influence public policy on behalf of our members."
CaSE's newly-appointed trustees are:
•
Yvonne Baker - CEO of MyScience and Director of the National Science Learning Centres
Yvonne is a Chartered Chemical Engineer, and was formerly CEO of STEMNET. She is also a Board
member ofthe Engineering Council.
•
Dr Maria Ana Cataluna - Leader of the Ultrafast Photonics Group at the University of Dundee
Maria is a Senior Lecturer and Royal Academy of Engineering/EPSRC Research Fellow. She studied at
the Instituto Superior Tecnico (Portugal) before moving to Scotland, where she was awarded a PhD
in Physics (University of St Andrews).
•
Prof Stephen Curry - Professor of Structural Biology, imperial College
Stephen is also director of Undergraduate Studies at Imperial College's Department of Life Sciences,
and Vice Chair of Science is Vital.
•
Richard Davis - Head of Research and Development, Group Risk, at Lloyds Banking Group
354
Richard obtained a PhD in Chemistry from the University of York and worked with the Food and
Environment Research Agency before moving into finance.
•
James Lawford Davies - Partner, Lawford Davies Denon
A lawyer specialising in the life sciences, James was previously Senior Associate at Clifford Chance
LLP, and has been a lecturer in Law 8i Medicine at Newcastle University.
•
Dr Emily Shuckurgh - Head of Open Oceans, British Antarctic Survey
Emily is a climate scientist who is also a fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge, and a faculty member
ofthe Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership.
As well as managing the change of leadership at CaSE, one ofthe new trustees' first responsibilities will be
developing CaSE's new Five Year Strategy. The current one, originally developed in 2008, expires next year.
Full biographies ofthe new Board, including existing members, are available online on CaSE's
website: http://sciencecamp3ien.org.uk/7paEe ld=8153
ENDS
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. CaSE is the leading independent advocacy group for the science and engineering sectors in the UK. Find out more
at www.sciencecampaiEn.org.uk
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
http://fionafox.blogspot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
Science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
theCentre, with donations capped at 5K of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827} and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
355
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
21 December 2012 16:37
[email protected]
FW: SMC Roundup version 3: Neon Roberts radiotherapy court case
Hi Folks - thought 1 would send you some reaction to the very tragic Neon Roberts case that has been heard in court
today just fyi. However it also gives me an excuse to say Happy Christmas to my 'Great and Good list', 1 have
enjoyed conversing with you all this year, sharing bits of gossip, interesting articles and getting your comments on
and off the record on the big stories in science. And of course you do not have to stay on my Great and Good list for
life - people are allowed off for good behaviour so shout if it all gets too much.
In the meantime 1 am delighted that the experts called it right, the world has not ended and we will live to fight for
better media coverage of science for another day!
Happy Christmas everyone
Fiona
Science Media Centre Round-Up VERSION 3
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. FRIDAY 21 DECEMBER 2012
Experts comment on the Neon Roberts radiotherapy court case
NEW COMMENT Dr Jane Barrett, President ofthe Royal College of Radiologists, said:
'The treatment of cancers in children is a highly complex and emotive issue and each case must be treated
individually. The decision as to which treatment pathway will be of most benefit to the patient should be made by
the multidisciplinary team, which includes clinical oncologists who deliver the treatment, and the family by assessing
the risks and benefits. The Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) has devised a series of clear protocols to
support this process and whilst radiotherapy is an effective treatment for both children and adults, these decisions
are always carefully considered and balanced.
"Over the past 20 years there have been major advances in the use of radiotherapy with the advent of more
accurate treatment beams and by reducing the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Parents of a
child with a brain tumour can be reassured that their treatment programme is based on carefully conducted clinical
trials and that if radiotherapy is recommended it is because the benefits outweigh the side effects."
Martin Ledwick, Head Information Nurse at Cancer Research UK, said:
"Survival rates have more than doubled for childhood cancers over the last 30 years and this has been thanks to
better treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But there's more work that needs to be done.
Cancer Research UK is funding research and trials into new treatments to save more children from cancer and
reduce the side-effects that can come from treatments, helping children live full lives unaffected by their cancer."
Professor Kathenne Vallis, MRC-CR-UK Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, Oxford University, said:
"About half of all cancer patients receive radiotherapy during their illness, and it forms part of the treatment of Just
under half of all the patients who are destined to be cured of the disease. It is true that all medical interventions,
including radiotherapy, may cause some unwanted side effects but it is also true that with modern radiotherapy,
356
these can be minimised and, in some cases, eliminated. The use of highly precise, advanced radiotherapy techniques
means that the cancer tissue can be exposed to the radiotherapy beam while surrounding healthy tissue is avoided.
"More often than not these days, radiotherapy is used in combination with surgery and chemotherapy, with each
type of treatment contributing to the efficacy of the overall treatment programme. Clinical trials that test new
radiotherapy techniques and combination treatments lead to evidence-based improvements in practise."
Professor Tim Maughan, Professor of Clinical Oncology, MRC-CR-UK Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and
Biology, Oxford University, said:
"All treatments for cancer carry the hope of benefit but the risk of short or long term side effects. This is especially
the case when considering the case of a child with a brain tumour and the risk of brain damage from treatment.
"The treatments that are used in standard practice (that is surgery radiotherapy and chemotherapy) have all been
under long term assessment and there is clear evidence that the benefits of these treatments outweigh the side
effects. For that reason they are used as the standard of care across the developed world.
"In the case of radiotherapy, recent improvements in the precision with which the treatment is delivered due to
IMRT (intensity modulated radiotherapy), IGRT (image guided radiotherapy) and proton beam therapy have all
reduced the doses of radiation given to critical normal tissues near the cancer and this reduces side effects further.
All of these treatments are available through the NHS either in UK hospitals or through the national proton beam
therapy service which funds suitable patients to receive proton beam therapy at designated overseas centres.
Radiotherapy for childhood brain tumours has a clear cut benefit in terms of improving survival.
"In contrast, new treatments have not been shown to be effective in the curative treatment of brain tumours.
"Delay in starting radiotherapy treatment can have adverse effects. In the UK over the last year radiotherapy waiting
times have been dealt with so that now over 94% of patients start radiotherapy within the national target of 31
working days. It has been estimated that this removal in the delay to start radiotherapy treatment saves 2500 lives
of cancer patients each year. More details about this and all aspects of radiotherapy in the UK are available in the
recent DH publication: radiotherapy services in England 2012.
"Research in radiotherapy has received much attention and improved funding in the last decade in the UK. In 2005
the MRC and Cancer Research-UK collaborated to fund the Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology in
Oxford which is a world leader in the research in the underlying scientific mechanisms ofthe effects of
radiotherapy. Since 2009 a national radiotherapy research working group (the NCRI CTRad) has brought together all
radiotherapy related research across the UK resulting in more radiotherapy clinical trials and more patients being
treated in research studies. The NIHR funds a national radiotherapy quality assurance programme which ensures
that all radiotherapy in these clinical trials is ofthe highest precision and accuracy. This in turn is increasing the
precision and accuracy of radiotherapy used in routine clinical practice."
Professor Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor of Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter, said:
"None ofthe alternative treatments considered by Sally Roberts are supported by good evidence. In fact, the notion
of alternative cancer "cures" is a fallacy: it suggests that conventional oncology ignores promising leads simply
because they originate from alternative practitioners; this is silly, insulting and untrue. Alternative cancer "cures"
are a contradiction in terms."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
357
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topicalarea of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 7611 8300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.org, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at [email protected]
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
Fiona Lethbridge
Press Office Assistant
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NWl 2BE
letnDridqefgjsciencemediacentre.orq
www-sciencemediacentre.orq
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to ttie news media
when science is in the headlines. Over 60 supporters induding scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and
individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to presen/e its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
Registered address: 215 Euston Road, London. NWl 2BE.
358
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
09 December 2012 18:37
[email protected]
Anyone want to give me a comment on the death of Sir Patrick Moore
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20657939
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
LondonNWl 2BE
E: fionafg.sciencemediacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
fionafox.blogspot.com
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific conimunity to the news media w^en science is in
the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Cenlre, with
donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registensd charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited t>y guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
359
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <fiona©sciencemediacentre.org>
05 December 2012 16:37
[email protected]
FW: SMC Rapid Reaction Ver 3: Chancellor's Autumn statement (FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE WED 5 NOV 2012)
fyi
Science Media Centre Rapid Reaction
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY S^^ NOVEMBER 2012
Version 3: Expert reaction to the Autumn Statement
NEW Prof Paul Hardaker. Institute of Phvsics
NEW Prof Rick Rvlance. Research Councils UK
Prof Brian Cox. Universitv of Manchester
Dr Mark Downs. Societv of BJoloev
Imran Khan. Director of CaSE
David Willetts. Minister for Universities and Science
Paul Nurse. Roval Societv
Sir Mark Walport. Wellcome Trust
Dr Dave Reav. Universitv of Edinburgh on the gas strategy
Prof Paul Hardaker, Chief Executive of The Institute of Physics (lOP), said,
"Science adds significant value to the economy and society so to see it prioritised alongside school
infrastructure, fast transport links and new houses is very positive.
"George Osborne, Vince Cable and David Willetts clearly recognise the value that science can unlock for
society, but it's important to rememberthat investment in science is a long-term commitment. It starts in
schools, through higher education into research and to industry, but the pay-off is that we know it delivers
growth and jobs to the UK."
Prof Rick Rylance, Chair of Research Councils UK, said:
"This very welcome investment acknowledges the crucial contribution of research to economic growth and
the societal wellbeing of the UK. It will also significantly advance the future of our outstanding research
base.
"RCUK is committed to supporting excellent research across a wide range of disciplines and providing
access to a full range of woHd-class research facilities. The funds made available today will underpin the
key areas for capital and infrastructure investment identified in our new Strategic Framework for Capital
360
Investment, announced just last month by the Chancellor. Such vital investment allows the Research
Councils, collectively, to provide an infrastructure essential for the future sustainabitity of UK research
competitiveness, and it will support the UK in maximising its innovation potential and driving economic
growth."
Prof Brian Cox, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of IVIanchester, said:
"The extra £600M for capital expenditure on science announced by the Chancellor today is extremely
welcome. George Osbourne has said that his government is up to the challenge of making Britain the best
place in the world to do science, and this does indeed seem to be the trajectory we are on. Science and
engineering are the route to future economic growth, and with the continuing support of government, I
am convinced that the academic and research sectors, in collaboration with industry, will deliver."
Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology, said:
"We welcome the news that £600 million has been made available for investment into science
infrastructure. This again demonstrates that the coalition government recognises the critical role science
and engineering plays in supporting growth and Jobs, health and social well-being. Many of the solutions
to the world's most challenging problems lie, at least in part, in the biosciences and related subjects.
"To deliver on the opportunity of science we need a skilled workforce and an engaged public, and we
therefore welcome the promise of £270 million for Further Education colleges and £1 billion for schools.
We urge the government to continue to monitor the impact of funding changes to university teaching
practices, to ensure immigration does not continue to prevent the UK from attracting the best scientists
and students, and to continue its support for professional recognition as continuous learning."
CaSE's director, Imran Khan, said:
"We were hoping that the Chancellor would continue his trend of supporting science and engineering, and
are really delighted with this new commitment-the total amount of new funding since 2010 has now
reached almost £2bn."
"Osborne's consistency shows that he understands the UK must invest in becoming a high-tech nation. In
the coming decades we won't be able to compete internationally on natural resources or cheap labour, so
the Government's plan to build British excellence in areas likes synthetic biology and energy-efficient
computing instead is absolutely critical. We applaud the Chancellor for supporting not only fundamental
research, but also making science a bigger part of the UK's industrial strategy."
"We hope that the Chancellor's next step is to back the recommendations of CaSE and Nesta's '4Growth'
report, which is supported by figures such as Brian Cox and James Dyson and calls on the Government to
strategically reinvest the £4bn proceeds from the forthcoming 4G spectrum auction back into science and
technology. '4Growth' highlights the once-in-a-generation opportunity that the UK has to continue the
rebalancing ofthe economy^ which the Chancellor has made a vital contribution to today."
To coincide with the the Autumn Statement, CaSE have released a new analysis of Government spending
on science since the 2010 Spending Review (attached). The analysis updates a 2011 analysis showing the
previous cuts to research funding.
361
CaSE and Nesta's 4Growth campaign was referenced in a recent speech by Vince Cable to the CBI, while
Lord Heseltine - former Deputy Prime Minister and author of the recent growth review - called it "an
important and illuminating contribution to the debate on industrial strategy".
ENDS
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. CaSE is the leading independent pressure group for the science and engineering sectors in
the UK. Find out more at www.sciencecampaign.org.uk
2. CaSE and Nesta's 4Growth report is available
here: http://www.nesta.org.uk/librarv/documents/4GROWTH.pdf, with a list of backers available on
the www.its4growth.co.uk website.
3. Lord Heseltine's speech, which references 4Growth, is available
here: http://sciencecampaign.ore.uk/?p=11620
4. Vince Cable's speech, in which he says "You only need to look at the proposals coming out of Nesta and
CaSE to show that there is no lack of opportunities [to build on our excellence in science]",.is was made to
the CBl and is available here: http://new5.bis.gov.uk/Press-Releases/Vince-Cable-Speech-CBI-conferenceGrosvenor-House-London-19-November-2012-6838d.aspx
5. CaSE's 2011 analysis of cuts made to the science budget is available
here: http://www.sciencecampaign.org.uk/files/ScienceFundingSept2011.pdf
6. CaSE's new 2012 analysis of extra funding for science and technology is available here:
http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/CaSE-Autumn-Statement-2012update-science-fundinR.pdf
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, said:
"Science and innovation are fundamental to our economy and this £600 million takes the total capital
investment announced since the Comprehensive Spending Review to over £1.5 billion. It will support hightech areas where the UK's research base and industry can gain a competitive advantage, like big data and
energy efficient computing, synthetic biology and advanced materials. This will drive growth, create the
jobs ofthe future and help us get ahead in the global race."
What's the announcement?
Capital investment in strengthening our research base and increasing investment in innovation is vital to
raise the longterm growth rate ofthe UK economy. This investment will help boost our high level skills in a
number of high priority areas, help deliver effective exploitation of university research by industry, help
attract R8iD intensive inward investment and help ensure the research base provides effective support for
a wide range of public services.
This investment is based around providing support to eight technologies of the future, which were
discussed by the Chancellor in his speech to the Royal Society of 9 November. These have been assessed
362
by the Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) as being some of the main
technological opportunities of the future. International competition in these areas will be fierce and
investment now will position the UK to seize these opportunities.
The investment will support the development of innovative technologies and strengthen the UK's
competitive advantage in areas such as:
Advanced materials - National Composites Centre (NCC): approximately doubling the capacity of the NCC,
located on the Bristol and Bath Science Park (BBSP). This will create a new training centre for higher level
and vocational skills development, training the next generation of engineers in manufacturing and
materials technologies. It will also reinforce work with aero sector and will expand into other sectors such
as automotive and renewable energy.
Big data and energy efficient computing: equipment to strengthen the UK's comparative advantage in
using very large datasets in areas such as healthcare and software development. The worid creates 2.5
quintillion bytes of data daily and delivering true value from this data deluge needs creative and
substantial investment in data analytics and management.
Energy storage: investment to create dedicated RStD facilities to develop and test new grid scale storage
technologies. This has the potential for delivering massive benefits-In terms of savings on UK energy
spend, environmental benefits, economic growth and in enabling UK business to exploit these
technologies internationally.
Further details will be announced in due course.
Is there new money involved?
Yes - £600 million over three years (£10 million, £282 million, £308 million).
Key messages
oThis capital investment in science and innovation is based around providing support to
eight technologies of the future, which were discussed by the Chancellor in his speech to
the Royal Society of 9^*^ November. These are eight technologies that have been assessed
by the Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) as being some of the
main technological opportunities ofthe future. International competition in these areas
will be fierce and investment now will position the UK to seize these opportunities.
oThe proposals have a strategic alignment with current science and innovation activity,
the Government's emerging industrial strategy and wider policy initiatives such as the
PM's Life Sciences strategy. They are technologies where there is both a strong research
push and industrial pull within the UK currently that can be built upon. These proposals
align with the views of organisations such as the CBI where a key component of their
industrial policy position is to boldly back innovation and do so at scale.
Key facts/stats
o Despite enormous pressure on public spending, the £4.6 billion per annum funding for
science and research programmes has been protected in cash terms and ring fenced
against future pressures during the spending review period.
oThe Government has announced an additional £1.515 billion of capital funding for
science, research and innovation since the 2010 Spending Review.
oThe Department's science budget will continue to be protected forthe rest ofthe SR.
Any additional background
• 363
oThe Research Council capital projects being invested in here are from Research Councils
UK Strategic Framework for Capital Investment. This was launched by the Chancellor in
his speech at t h e Royal Society on 9*^ November, in which he highlighted eight
technologies o f t h e future where the UK can take a lead. The speech can be found
here http://wvvw.hm-treasurv.gov.uk/speech chx 0 9 l l l 2 . h t m .
Paul Nurse, President o f t h e Royal Society, said:
"Innovation is the key t o sustainable economic growth for the UK and science is the raw material of
innovation. The Chancellor clearly understands this and his ongoing commitment t o investing in science,
despite t h e difficult financial circumstances, is very welcome. We have some way t o go t o match the
public and private investment levels in research and development of some of our competitor economies
but we have the advantage of already being truly worid class in many areas of science. The announcement
today of an additional £600 million of capital investment will hopefully help ensure that our worid leading
scientists have world leading facilities with which t o work.
"In a speech at the Royal Society last month the Chancellor identified eight areas where he believes the UK
already has an edge and these are undoubtedly areas where we are strong and have the potential for
application. However, we must also make sure that we maintain capital and other support across a broad
range of science. We must not narrow our focus too much and risk sacrificing the ideas that will create
growth decades from now."
Sir Mark Walport, director of t h e Wellcome Trust, said:
"I am delighted that the Chancellor has backed the ambitious vision for British science that he set out at
the Royal Society last month w i t h this substantial package of investment. He is right to recognise that
investment in worid-class science and the worid-class infrastructure it requires must be integral to any
strategy for driving growth, even in times of austerity."
Dr Dave Reay, Senior lecturer in Carbon Management at t h e University of Edinburgh, said:
"The Chancellor's 'gas strategy' undermines much o f t h e positive action on tackling climate change set out
in last week's Energy Bill.
^
"By making gas-fired power stations central t o UK electricity supply beyond 2030, the opportunity t o
realise a truly low-carbon economy has been squandered. Electricity produced using conventional gas
may be less carbon intensive than that from coal, but this strategy still locks us into an emissions future
that simply does not square w i t h our national and international obligations on climate change."
Note to editors
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged, and
represents neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.
The Science Media Centre can also help you find an expert on a topical area of science, we have over 2000 media friendly
scientists and engineers on our database and you can call us on 020 7611 8300 ifyou need an expert to interview.
For more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.org, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments on
our service at [email protected]
364
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales
Dr Edward Sykes
Senior Press Officer
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
E: edward^sciencemediacentre.org
W e b : www.sciencemediacentre.org
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales.
365
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Cc:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
05 Decern ber 2012 11:42
[email protected]
Edward Sykes; Fiona Lethbridge
Any comments on autumn statement
HI Folks
We would be happy to issue any reactions to the Chancellor's autumn statement today ifyou have some? I gather
from Clive Cookson at the FT that he is expecting statements on shale gas and regenerative medicine
Can you please copy Ed and Fiona Lethbridge in to any comment as I am out for several hours in the middle of the
day
Cheers folks
Fiona
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NW12BE
E: fiona(5>sciencemediacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
http://fionafox.blogspot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at S% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
366
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sont:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
05 December 2012 10:10
[email protected]
UK Press Gazette Awards
Hi folks. Just to let you know that science Journalism was celebrated at last night's UK press gazette awards. For the
first time the awards had a science category and a few familiar names were amongst the nominations read out from
the stage in the beautiful Stationers Hall, including Fi Harvey, Pallab Ghosh, and Tom Feilden. It felt good to finally
have science reporting celebrated alongside business, politics and sport and good to celebrate the best of journalism
after an inquiry focussed on the worst. Tom won the award and dedicated it to the courageous researchers who
had spoken out on the programme on issues like animal research and CFS.
Here are the other winners
Cheers
Fiona
http://www.presseazette.co.uk/david-walsh-scoops-iournalist-vear-win-british-iournalism-awards
Here is the full list of winners:
•
New journalist ofthe Year: Emma Slater, BBC Panorama/Bureau of Investigative Journalism
•
Investigation of the Year - Alexi Mostrous and Fay Schlesinger, The Times (tax avoidance expose)
•
Science Journalist of the Year - Tom Feilden, BBC Today
•
Photojournalisf of the Year - Matt Cardy, Getty Images
•
Innovation of the Year - The Guardian for 'Reading the Riots'
•
Sports Journalist of the Year - David Walsh, Sunday Times, for Lance Armstrong coverage
•
Business Journalist of the year - Chris Giles, Financial Times
•
Political Joumalist of the year - David Hencke, Exaro
•
Breaking News Award - Andrew Gregory of the Daily Mirror and Steve Back of Political Pictures
•
Journalist of the Year - David Walsh, The Sunday Times, claims a second prize
•
Special award for inspiring a generation goes to Marie Colvin of The Sunday Times
See other great nominees and winners here..link
>
Fiona Fox
367
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
http://fionafox.blogspot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limitedfayguarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
368
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
29 November 2012 17:59
[email protected]
My reaction to the sciency bits of Leveson
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20i2/nov/2Q/leveson-inquiry-future-science-coverage
Comment
After the Leveson inquiry, what future for science coverage?
I offered guidelines to Leveson on how to report science and health stories responsibly. We will
now have to wait and see whether newspapers clean up their act
•
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o Fiona Fox
o guardian.co.uk. Thursday 29 November 2012 17.30 GMT
o Jump to comments (0)
Lord Justice Leveson commended the Science Media Centre's proposed guidelines. Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images
If anyone wonders why the Science Media Centre gave evidence to theLeveson inquiry, they need look no
further than a small news story this week reporting that the uptake ofthe MMR vaccine has finallv ■
recoveredfrom the media frenzy of 14 years ago that wrongly linked the jab to an increase in autism. The fact
that we have seen the return of thousands of cases of childhood measles, and even some deaths, illustrates
why I stood in front of Lord Justice Leveson to argue that poor science reporting can damage the public Interest
every bit as much as hacking the phones of celebrities or crime victims.
In some ways summoning up the spectre of MMR is misleading. The media was not solely responsible for the
scare and much has changed for the better in those 14 years. The UK has some of the best specialist science
reporters in the world and the appetite for science in newsrooms allows great journalists to convey complicated,
scary and messy new science to a mass audience on a daily basis. But it's also Important to acknowledge that
aspects ofthe culture and practise in newsrooms that delivered the MMR scare do still raise their head including the tendency to overstate a claim made by one expert in a single small study; the reluctance to ruin a
369
great scare story by placing it in its wider more,reassuring context; and the journalistic addiction to balance
which often conveys a scientific divide where there is none.
It was these points that 1 elaborated on when called in front of Leveson last year. It was a welcome opportunity
to offer a more ambitious vision of good science coverage. 1 dared to suggest that we should change the
practise of non-specialist subeditors writing the headlines long after the science reporter has left, a practise
which on the day of my evidence had led to a carefully written report on a tiny safety trial of stem cells for
macular degeneration being wrongly headlined "Once they were blind, now they can see".
And I found common ground with other witnesses at Leveson while talking about the need for redress - not so
much for individuals smeared by the media but for the wider public who believed stories that turned out not to be
true. Tongue in cheek, I recommended an experiment proposed by a US science writer who suggested that
those papers that have regularly splashed with stories of "a cure for" or "a breakthrough in" cancer, Alzheimer's
and heart disease be invited to do a follow-up on how many "cures" we actually got. And 1 even got to pass on
the outrage of many scientists at a culture that apparently allows the UK's best known columnists to enjoy
immunity from the normal rules about accuracy - with the science of climate change in particular falling prey to
opinion pieces with little regard for the truth.
To emphasise my point that not that much needs to be fixed to dramatically raise standards of science reporting,
I made a rather rash claim. 1 told Leveson that, in my view, if you locked a group of the best scientists in a room
with the main science Joumalists it would not take them long to come up with a list of guidelines on good science
reporting. I mentioned a few on the spot, like Joumalists emphasising the size of the study, including the
important caveats, reporting risk in absolute numbers as well as percentages and providing a realistic time
frame for new research findings moving from a lab to a real live treatment.
In the event, Leveson called my bluff and asked for the delivery of said guidelines (see below) and he writes in
the report that they are "commendable for their utility as well as their succinctness". He also suggests that any
new regulator should "bear them closely in mind".
Like with so much about this report I imagine there will be different views in the scientific community about
Leveson. I am sure that many scientists will be disappointed that there is not more of an iron glove behind
Leveson's mild bouquet for our proposed guidelines, but the joumalists who helped us to draft them believe they
are actually more likely to be received warmly by newsdesks precisely because they have not been imposed
from on high.
Scientists, like everyone else, will now have to wait to see whether this inquiry changes anything about the way
newspapers operate, but when it comes to the future of the press - free or othenwise - there is an elephant in
the room. The kind of science reporting that Leveson extols can only be done by newspapers with the resources
to keep their existing spedalist reporters, and right now the declining sales of newspapers is as much of a threat
to good science coverage as sloppy standards or editorial hysteria. No one has come up with a good avoidance
strategy for this collision course, and journalistic quality will be an indisputable casualty.
Fiona Fox is director of the Science Media Centre
Guidelines submitted to the Leveson inquiry
The following guidelines, drawn up in consultation with scientists, science reporters, editors and subeditors, are
intended for use by newsrooms to ensure that the reporting of science and health stories is balanced and
accurate. They are not intended as a prescriptive checklist and of course shorter articles or NlBs ["news in brief
items! will not be able to cover every point. Above and beyond specific guidelines, familiarity with the
technicalities and common pitfalls in science and heaith reporting is invaluable and every newsroom should aim
to employ specialist science and health correspondents. Wherever possible, the advice and skills of these
specialists should be sought and respected on major, relevant stories; the guidelines below will be especially
useful for editors and general reporters who are less familiar with how science works.
• State the source of the story - eg interview, conference, Journal article, a survey from a charity or trade body,
etc - ideally with enough information for readers to look it up or a web link.
• Specify the size and nature of the study - eg who/what were the subjects, how long did it last, what was tested
or was it an observation? If space, mention the major limitations.
370
• When reporting a link between two things, indicate whether or not there is evidence that one causes the other.
• Give a sense of the stage of the research - eg cells in a laboratory or trials in humans - and a realistic time
frame for any new treatment or technology.
• On heaith risks, include the absolute risk whenever it is available in the press release or the research paper ie if "cupcakes double cancer risk" state the outright risk of that cancer, with and without cupcakes.
• Especially on a story with public health implications, try to frame a new finding in the context of other evidence
- eg does it reinforce or conflict with previous studies? If it attracts serious scientific concerns, they should not
be ignored.
• If space, quote both the researchers themselves and external sources with appropriate expertise. Be wary of
scientists and press releases over-claiming for studies.
• Distinguisti between findings and interpretation or extrapolation; don't suggest health advice if none has been
offered.
• Remember patients: don't call something a "cure" that is not a cure.
• Headlines should not mislead the reader about a story's contents and quotation marks should not be used to
dress up overstatement.
Amy Lothian
Events Officer
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
-
The Sdence Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is In the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
, Engiand and Wales.
371
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
Subject:
Amy Lothian <[email protected]>
26 November2012 13:14
Reminder- SMC Christmas party, Wed 28 November, Wellcome Collection
Hi Alt
We're looking forward to seeing you this Wednesday for some festive cheer. We'll be in the Medicine Now Gallery
upstairs in the Wellcome Collection from 18.30 onwards.
The address is 183 Euston Road, N W l 2BE and directions can be found at http://www.wellcomecollection.org/visitus/getting-here.aspx
A copy of the invitation is below and please let me know If you're no longer able to make it.
See you soon
Best wishes
Amy
Amy Lothian
Events Officer
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NWL2BE
£: amy(5>sciencemediacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
On the 28th day of November a premature festive party
gave to me:
Twelve journos hacking
Eleven scientists shouting
Ten years of swearing
Nine press officers prattling
Eight volunteers drinking
Seven miners fracking
Six badgers coughing
FIVE iPHONE RINGS (during a briefing)
Four fewer speeches than the 10th anniversary party
Three* canapes per head (*none; we are a charity)
Two legal highs
And a knees-up at the SMC
.... At 6.30-9.30pm Wednesday 28 November at The Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, N W l 2BE
372
This invitation is non-transferable.
373
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mmttam^iMmmd
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject.*
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
23 November 2012 15:54
[email protected]
Good news re POST
httD://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/ll/cuts-avoided-at-uk-pariiaments-science-advice-unit.html
Cuts avoided at UK parliament's science advice unit
23 Nov 2012 I 13:32 GMT | Posted by Richard Van Noorden | Category: Policy
Protests led by two former British science ministers have prevented threatened budget cuts at the UK
parliament's in-house science briefings service, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
(POST).
Two weeks ago, policy-makers worried that cuts to House of Commons library services would all be loaded
on to POST, lopping some 17% from its £570,000 (US$913,000) budget. But after a debate in the House of
Commons, and a campaign led by the London-based science lobby group, the Campaign for Science and
Engineerina. POST's chair Adam Afriyie says the budget is secure to April 2015. "Supporting
parliamentarians' work through POST is absolutely critical to improving understanding of science and
technology issues in Parliament," Afriyie said.
374
K s y m e n a O k o n s k a ( B B S R C , SO)
From:
Sent:
Subject:
Amy Lothian <[email protected]>
13 November 2012 15:53
Introduction to the News Media - Free, Thurs 22 November, Wellcome Trust, London
Dear All
Our apologies if you have already come along to one of our sessions or if this email isn't relevant to you, but we
have some spaces left on our next Introduction to the News Media session on Thursday 22 November 2012 12.3018.00 if you or your colleagues are interested.
The free session is specifically geared towards scientists with little or no media experience and is a great starting
point to find out more about dealing with media enquiries and discuss with experienced speakers topics including;
how journalists find and write stories, the role of the press office and news editor and the realities of
communicating complex research.
The programme is below and if you would like to attend please register at
http://sciencemediacentre.eventbrite.co.uk/
"I f o u n d it one o f t h e most rewarding uses o f an afternoon that I can remember."
"I thought it was great and gave me at least 5 major take home points which I will use in the future."
We would be grateful ifyou could please pass this email onto colleagues who may be interested and please don't
hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
Thanks and best wishes
Amy
Introduction to the News Media
Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Road, London, N W l 2BE
Programme of Events: Thursday 22 November 2012
12:30 -13:00 Registration, tea & coffee
13:00 -13:30 Welcome address
Ed Sykes, Senior Press Officer, Science Media Centre
Science Media Centre
Helen Jamison, Deputy Director, Science Media Centre
13:30 -13:50 Working with your press office
Genevieve Maul, Communications Officer, University of Cambridge
13:50 -15:00 Journalist panel session
Mike Swain, former Science and Environment Editor of the Daily Mirror
Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent, Reuters
Dr. Jason Palmer, Science and technology reporter, BBC
15:00 -15:30 Tea & coffee
375
15:30 -16:20 Scientist panel session
Prof Jim Smith, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth
Dr Marcelo Rivolta, Centre for Stem Cell Biology, The University of Sheffield
Dr Gia Aradottir, Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection, Rothamsted Research
16:20 -16:45 'Top Tips' for working with the media
Bob Ward, Policy and Communication Director, LSE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change
16:45 -17:00 Closing remarks
17:00 -18:00 Drinks reception
Amy Lothian
Events Officer
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London NWl 2BE
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific
community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including sdentific institutions, media
groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the
running costs to presen/e its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in
England and Wales.
This message has been
scarmed by the WebRoot Email Security Service. For more information please visit
http://www.webroot.com
376
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
12 November 2012 13:29
[email protected](acentre.org
A strange media enquiry
I have been chatting to a producer catted Laura.on BBC Radio 3 who is producing the following series:"The series is devoted to real life scientists and how they have been represented in culture. So far we have one on
Galileo, one on Newton, and one on John Dee.
I am looking, as I say, for two more - one on Albert Einstein, one on Marie Curie.
The Essay is a twenty minute slot. Essay duration is about 2500 words and the series will go out in January. I need to
record these last two essays in December.
Many thanks, Laura "
So the question is do any ofyou fancy writing a 2,500 word essay on Einstein or Marie Curie and how they are
presented in culture and recording that for BBC Radio 3. And if not you then can you recommend anyone who
might love to do this (I realise it will not be for everyone!!)
Cheers
Fiona
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
Tel;
E: [email protected]
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
http://fionafox.blogspot.com/
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over 80 supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence.
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
This message has been
scanned by the WebRoot Email Security Service. For more iiiformation please visit
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377
Ksymena Okonska (BBSRC, SO)
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Fiona Fox <[email protected]>
12 November 2012 12:35
[email protected]
In Praise of Richard Black and a timely invitation
Hi Folks - our friend Jim Giles has asked me to pass on his invitation to the laimch of a new investigative
reporting initiative later this week, (see details pasted below). And some ofyou may also like to read my
latest blog in praise of Richard Black and my thoughts on the Newsnight
saga http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/in-praise-of-richard-black/
Cheers
Fiona
MATTER is a new publication dedicated to in-depth and
investigative joumalism about science and technology. We're trying to
do for sci/tech what outlets (ike the New Yorker and the Atlantic
already do for politics and other fields: publish thoughtful,
hard-hitting and beautifully written long-form pieces that have the
potential to change the way people think.
We raised $140,000 earlier this year using Kickstarter, a
crowd-funding platform, and are publishing our first story on 14
November. It's a fascinating, deep, and emotional tale about a
misunderstood neurological condition and the radical treatment it
requires. Subsequent stories, which we'll publish monthly during our
launch phase, will focus on climate change, regenerative medicine and
a group of cyber-criminals who are targeting low-income individuals.
We're having a launch event at the Royal Institution on 15 November
and we'd love it if you could make it If you think you can, please
RSVP at http://matterlondon.eventbrite.com.
Hope to see you there!
Jim
Fiona Fox
Chief Executive
Science Media Centre
215 Euston Road
London N W l 2BE
E: fionagisciencemediacentre.org
Web: www.sciencemediacentre.org
http://fionafox.blog5pot.com/ .
The Science Media Centre is an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when
science is in the headlines. Over SO supporters including scientific institutions, media groups, charities, universities, corporate organisations and individuals fund
the Centre, with donations capped at 5% ofthe running costs to preserve its independence.
378
Science Media Centre is a registered charity (no. 1140827) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 7560997). Registered in England and Wales.
This message has been
scanned by the WebRoot Email Security Service. For more information please visit
http://www.webroot.com
379

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